LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—-On Thursday, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson held a news conference, to discuss new changes in her department, that she says will make it easier for Michigan residents to make transactions with the state.
Those changes include modifications to self-service stations and online transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Michiganders can renew their standard, and enhanced driver’s licenses and state identification cards virtually at self-service stations after the Michigan Department of State completed a technology upgrade.
The new online services include accessing streamlined business services; renew or replace an enhanced driver’s license if no new photo is required, view the mailing status of a requested driver’s license, pre-applying for an original driver’s license, a request to obtain a driving record, paying reinstatement fees and invoices, apply to be a notary public, and adding a motorcycle endorsement to a driver’s license.
Individuals can use the Self-Service stations by renewing their licenses, requesting or replacing a temporary print-out license, and even signing up on the state’s organ donor registry.
According to Michigan.gov, after the upgrade was completed so far over 6,000 people renewed, or replaced their state IDs at a self-service station. Meanwhile, the state’s website claims over 5,300 enhanced driver’s license and ID transactions were completed online.
The Secretary of State’s office stated there are 146 self-service stations and the department plans to create more across Michigan. The stations will even be planned to appear at select Meijer and Kroger stores across the state.
So far, the self-service machines are offered in English, Spanish, Arabic, and even Vietnamese. These stations accept each type of credit card, and some of these self-service stations accept cash.
Another set of customer operations the Secretary of State’s Office has improved are simplifying the graduated driver licensing process. The department states this can reduce customer visits to branch offices amid the coronavirus pandemic. Allegedly, student drivers are being issued a picture license card for a level one license. Individuals carrying this type of license don’t need to return to a secretary of state’s office for other levels of licenses. The department also states an operator’s license will be mailed to individuals once they turn 18-years-old.
According to Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, more people have scheduled appointments online and there is a dedicated staff at the call center. She stated that means they will be able to serve at least 35,000 people a month. Plus, for people who are uncomfortable with the internet, their call center staff will assist people by planning appointments via phone.
“We are increasing our branch appointments by at least 10 percent in the coming months that means we will be able to serve at least 35,000 more people every month,” Benson stated.
Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson announced a new legislative agenda that she wants state laws to change to allow remote driver’s license testing, not make veterans re-test for civilian CDL, and allow license picture uploads. This will make it easier for veterans to not have to come in and re-test in person, and they can receive assistance if needed.
According to Michigan.gov, the three Grand Rapids-area offices were consolidated into two offices so employees can help the community with high levels of customer traffic. Currently, there are seven self-service stations in the Grand Rapids area and two more are planned to come.
Most Secretary of State’s Office’s are operating from 9:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. If you would like to receive more information and access self-service stations near you visit Michigan.gov/SOS.