Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testifies on appointment system

Posted at 4:19 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 22:32:16-04

(WXYZ) — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was in the hot seat in Lansing today, answering questions about the growing backlog at SOS branches around the state for license plate renewals and other motor vehicle services.

It continues to be an appointment-only system with no walk-ins allowed, and Secretary Benson said there are no immediate plans to change that.

During her testimony before the Michigan House Oversight Committee, Benson said she's improving technology, including staffing at a call center for people to book appointments.

She also said half the people who try to book appointments online between 8 a.m. and noon can get in.

She was also asked about expanding hours to include evenings and weekends to help reduce the backlog.

"We're in the process of exploring a lot of ideas. I think the extended hours model as well that you talked about is something we'd also like to consider as we continue to search for ways to improve the system. I appreciate the feedback, I think it's important to remember that we have limited capacity either way," she said.

Benson said if they re-open offices for walk-ins, that will take away from staffing for appointments.

She also said staffing has not kept up with demand for motor vehicle services for many years, and closings with the pandemic added to the backlog, adding that more funding for staff and technology would help.