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 ExpressSOS.com. 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.
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.
Find out more about Secretary Johnson's Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE)
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 S-O-S.com. 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 ExpressSOS.com transaction. That's ONE MILLION transactions where
customers didn't have to drive to our office, or park, or take a number, or wait
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
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
www.michigan.gov/sos. 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 ExpressSOS.com 24/7 for convenient Secretary of
State service. Thank you.