(AP) — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Tuesday her office is adding 350,000 appointments over nearly four months to address a pandemic-related backlog as Michigan residents try to renew driver's licenses, transfer vehicle titles and conduct other business in person.
Branch offices will be able to serve 25% more customers than planned, she said, citing efficiencies — namely shortening 20-minute appointment slots to 10-minute slots. She also eased a requirement that all visitors book an appointment in advance, saying those who need a disability placard can show up without one and be served.
Greeters will be stationed at the doors of some of the department's busiest offices. They will tell people if any immediate appointments are available or help schedule them to come back later.
Benson, a Democrat, is confronting a logjam caused by the end of a 13-month grace period for driver’s license and ID renewals, which has been exacerbated by branch closures due to COVID-19 exposures. Republican lawmakers are pressuring her to restore motorists' ability to walk in without an appointment, pointing to monthslong waits. But she wants to stay the course and notes more transactions can be done online.