State Rep. Bob Bezotte today voiced support for the House Oversight Committee’s questioning of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Secretary Benson has come under scrutiny recently for her decision to permanently end walk-in services at branch offices.
During the committee hearing, Benson defended her appointment-only system despite many Michiganders’ reported difficulties in accessing next-day appointments. Many have reported having to wait three or more months for an in-person appointment at a branch office.
“An online-only system was acceptable during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccinations and before the science was really clear on the nature of the virus,” said Rep. Bezotte. “But now that businesses are reopening once again and mask mandates have been relaxed, it’s time to allow Michiganders broader access to these vital public services once again.”
SOS offices were closed for the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic as state mandates shut down many services and reopened in June 2020 on an appointment-only basis. Next-day appointments are quickly reserved after they are posted each day, and some people have taken advantage of this system by selling appointments on online marketplaces, creating even fewer appointments for those truly in need of them.
“Not only has Secretary Benson stopped all regular walk-in service, she has done away with evening and weekend hours,” said Rep. Bezotte. “For anyone working a traditional nine to five job, this makes it nearly impossible to do something as simple as renewing a license. Many services are required to be performed in person, making this issue all the more frustrating for people who are trying to obtain a Michigan license for the first time or transfer the title on their new car. I encourage Secretary Benson to consider the feedback we have received through our portal service, because the message seems to be clear – our constituents want and need these offices to reopen.”
Residents can visit www.gophouse.org/posts/reopensos to fill out an online form and share their comments with the House Oversight Committee, which will continue presiding over this issue.