State Rep. Ken Borton, majority vice chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, this week called on the Michigan Secretary of State to reopen branch offices for walk-in services.
“I strongly encourage the Secretary of State to rethink her decision and resume walk-in services,” said Borton, of Gaylord. “A one-size-fits-all policy will hurt senior citizens, rural residents and many others in our state that would prefer a walk-in option over a complex appointment system with months-long delays.”
Borton and several other Northern Michigan legislators on Thursday sent a letter to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in response to her recent announcement that offices would permanently be accessible only by appointment. The legislators described the difficulties this announcement would impose especially on Northern Michigan and other areas of the state where a lack of reliable internet access makes scheduling an appointment in advance much more difficult.
After an initial shutdown of all SOS branches at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department reopened offices only for appointments in June 2020, and residents must book a timeslot over the internet or by calling a help line. The appointment calendar is often fully booked months in advance, and although the SOS does offer limited next-day appointments, reserving them can be challenging. It was announced in April that the appointment-only system will remain in place permanently.
Borton said people can tell the House Oversight Committee about their experiences with the SOS appointment system at gophouse.org/ReopenSOS. The committee is actively reviewing the appointment-only announcement.
Following news that Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) waited nearly six months to inform people they may have received benefits in error, state Rep. Ken Borton today said the agency must address its malfunction and improve service.