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Secretary of State’s office dealing with appointment backlog

Branches are now appointment only
 Drivers are frustrated with the long lines at the Secretary of State branches.
Drivers are frustrated with the long lines at the Secretary of State branches. (WILX)
Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There’s growing frustration about the Secretary of State’s appointment only system. The earliest advance appointments people are finding in the Lansing area are in early August.

The Secretary of State’s office is encouraging people to finish their transactions online, or at a self-serve kiosk. But not everything can be done online, like license plates.

That’s frustrating for drivers who have to wait months to get one.

“It was pretty tedious trying to work and get on the computer and try and try and try,” said Mary Meddaugh.

Meddaugh spent about two weeks trying to get an appointment.

“I couldn’t let my grandson drive a car with no plates on it and knowing for sure if he could drive without the plates. Just have the insurance and the appointment,” said Meddaugh.

The Lansing Police Department said you can get a ticket for driving without a license plate.

However, a spokesman said officers are being lenient especially if you can prove you have an appointment. But Meddaugh said she didn’t want her grandson to wait until august to be fully legal.

The earliest appointment she could find between the Delta Township, Frandor, and Alaiedon Township branches was in August. Then she got lucky and found one for Monday.

Secretary of State spokesman Jake Rollow said the problem is due to cuts that were made over the years, and a backlog from the pandemic.

“Many people didn’t do the transactions they would’ve otherwise done so now they’re trying to do them now,” said Rollow.

Rollow encourages people to take advantage of the expanded online transactions to help with the backlog. But Meddaugh would like to see walk-ins return.

“If it was as simple as getting on and get an appointment for a couple days down the line, that would be different,” said Meddaugh.

Rollow told News 10 that is the goal. More appointments are being added in June because appointment times are getting shorter. The Secretary of State’s office said about half of it’s appointments are next day appointments.

Appointments are available at 8 a.m. and Noon. People might have to try a few times to schedule that appointment.

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