Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced legislation has been introduced to increase the Department of State’s capacity to serve customers at its branch offices. The bills would address a severe reduction of staff in previous decades and a backlog of transactions that need to be done following extensions of credential expirations throughout the pandemic.
In recent decades, disinvestment and other rollbacks at the Department of State cut offices by 46 percent and staff by 40 percent. Meanwhile, the state’s population grew 10 percent and the number of vehicles in Michigan increased 25 percent, leading to office wait times tripling from 2011 to 2018 to an average of nearly two hours at the ten busiest offices.
In 2020, these challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic, with exposures to the virus forcing staff to stay home and offices to close.