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    State of the Secretary of StateState of the Secretary of State

    State of State 2012 Video Image

    Secretary of State Ruth Johnson believes in accountability to the citizens of Michigan and giving the best possible customer service. With that in mind, she presents her second State of the Secretary of State address. Follow the link below to be taken to the video. 

    In the video she discusses her three priorities. First she is expanding customer service options using the online tool Secondly she is strengthening Michigan elections with her SAFE Initiative. Finally, she is working to increase the organ donor registry, which is giving new hope to Michigan residents every day. 

    State of the Secretary of State Video 
    Text Version of State of the Secretary of State Video (released June 2012)
    Audio Version of the State of the Secretary of State  MP3 icon
    SOS Background Information  PDF icon Updated May 2013
    SOS Stats and Fact Sheet  PDF icon Updated Jan. 2014
    Secretary Johnson's Biography
    Elections Stats and Fact Sheet
    Organ Donation States and Fact Sheet










    Secretary Johnson unveiled, the expanded online destination for Secretary of State services. For Michigan residents, some of the department's most popular services are now just a click away.

    SAFE Initiative



    SAFE Initiative

    Find out more about Secretary Johnson's Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) initiative

    Organ Donation

    Organ Donation - Sign Up NowSecretary Johnson strongly encourages Michigan residents to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Find out about her efforts and how to join


















    Text Version of State of the Secretary of State Video (released June 2012)

    2012 State of the Secretary of State
    By Ruth Johnson, Michigan Secretary of State

    Hello, I'm Ruth Johnson - your Secretary of State. A year ago, in the first ever "State of the Secretary of State" address, I promised the people of Michigan that we'd find a way to do better. To shorten wait times at our branch offices. To offer real online services. To bring Michigan - near the bottom of the nation in terms of organ donors - up in the numbers to save more lives, save families. And we promised to fight to protect integrity in our elections.

    So here it is, a year later, 2012. And I'm here to tell you that the Michigan Secretary of State's office really answered that call. Our team of committed, determined employees - from those on the front counters to those behind the scenes in windowless work rooms (yes, we really have those) - rallied and made the first changes to the way we look at AND do business.

    What did we accomplish? After years of delays, we were able to work with a vendor and Gov. Snyder's Department of Technology, Management and Budget to get a $27.5 million computer system up and running.

    Today, we have REAL online services, at Express What does this mean for most of our customers? Our most popular services are now available 24/7 from the comfort and convenience of your home or office. We've already celebrated our 1 millionth transaction. That's ONE MILLION transactions where customers didn't have to drive to our office, or park, or take a number, or wait in line.

    That's not all our employees have done. We launched a truly comprehensive election reform package - what we call the Secure and Fair Elections, or SAFE, Initiative. Our elections team is cleaning up voter rolls to remove those who have died, who have moved out of state and who are not citizens.

    Remember . . . the non-partisan Pew Center on the States said we had an impossible 102.54 % of eligible voters registered in 2008 so it's critical that we ensure accuracy in our voter rolls. For the first time, for example, Michigan participated in a 15-state cooperative effort to cross-check voter registration records and identify duplicates. Initial reports - which must be analyzed and confirmed - indicated more than 164,000 records where voters may be registered in Michigan AND another state.

    What else? Proposed legislation - without disenfranchising any legitimate voter - will close photo ID loopholes, help prevent bogus voter registrations that clog the system and will crack down on the worst campaign finance offenders.

    Other election changes? We're working with communities to promote the use of electronic pollbooks to check in voters at the polls. We just released a new iPhone/iPad app - believed to be the first in the country - where users can access the state's campaign contribution records. As I speak, we're finishing up new, comprehensive video training for poll workers.

    Finally, our employees have truly embraced organ donation awareness efforts. Our employees, time permitting, are asking customers if they want to join the organ donor registry. Michiganians, who are so kind hearted, so generous, are responding in historic numbers. Nearly 400,000 people - a 25 % increase - signed up to become donors last year. Small changes have led to huge increases every month. I can't thank our employees enough for all they've done. They are saving lives.

    All of these first-year changes have been done with no tax or fee increases; accomplished in spite of current staff levels which are 25 percent BELOW what they were 10 years ago. I deeply appreciate Secretary of State employees and all they have done.

    This first 16 months as Secretary of State has been busy, but also rewarding. Are we done yet? NO. Are there more challenges? Absolutely. We'll be working on everything from further election reform measures to traffic safety issues to partnering with private business and other government agencies. But I have seen what Secretary of State employees can do and I am encouraged by their leadership and commitment to the people of the State of Michigan.

    To learn more about our initiatives, please visit our website at If you do visit one of our branch offices, And have a good experience, please let our employees know that their hard work is appreciated. If you want to share your thoughts, visit us on Facebook and join us on Twitter. And remember: you can visit 24/7 for convenient Secretary of State service. Thank you.


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