Michigan Secretary of State to continue remote transactions, appointments

Some changes from the coronavirus pandemic will become permanent
 (Michigan Secretary of State Photo)
(Michigan Secretary of State Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 2:59 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Some changes to Michigan Secretary of State branch offices required by the coronavirus pandemic will remain permanent.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she plans to continue offering additional online, mail and grocery store kiosk options for completing transactions. Branch offices also will continue operating by appointment only.

In the past two years, the number of transactions completed outside a Secretary of State’s Office has increased from 30% in 2019 to 60% so far this year. Benson said many residents have asked to continue the appointment service for in-person transactions.

“Michiganders can now complete most of their transactions online, by mail or at one of our new self-service stations located at their local grocery store,” she said. “And the remaining in-person transactions are carried out by appointment, ensuring the vast majority of customers have little to no wait time.”

The appointment system started last June when Secretary of State branch offices reopened for in-person transactions. The appointments were designed to limit the number of people in the offices and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Benson said her office will be making improvements to the appointment system, including a 10% increase in available time slots and call center staff assigned to booking times for people who lack internet access.

“We’re going to listen to the people on this,” she said. “It’s clear they do not want us to go backwards to the old way of doing things, where on any given day you could spend hours waiting for a basic transaction in any given branch office. The branch office by appointment model is working and yes, it is a new way of doing things. But it’s a better way of doing things.”

Benson is asking the Michigan Legislature to allow even more change, including remote driver’s license testing and additional public-private partnerships.

“We need lawmakers to join us as innovators in furthering a vision for the people of Michigan and pass needed reforms that will help us improve customer convenience and satisfaction,” she said. “That means pushing forward and implementing modern, best practices and available technology along with innovative ideas that support Michiganders in ways that work best for them.”

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