Secretary of State Ruth Johnson Unveils "ExpressSOS"

OCTOBER 19, logo

More online options: Renew standard driver's license or ID, plates, registrations

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan residents can now access the online, no-wait Secretary of State through a new tool available at, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced today.

"By expanding online, we are able to transform the way we serve our customers," Johnson said. "This news means more convenience for our clients while alleviating lines at our branch offices so that our employees can provide even better service."

Thousands more Michigan residents will now be able to complete many transactions online that previously required visiting a branch office, including:

  • Renew or replace standard state driver's licenses and ID cards
  • Change their address when they move
  • Order multiple copies of vehicle registrations and titles

"The success of this effort can be largely attributed to the extremely strong partnership between departments," said Michigan Chief Information Officer David Behen, whose team at the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget delivered the tool. "Secretary Johnson set very clear business goals, allowing us to develop a tool to meet the need, and I thank her and the entire SOS team for being great partners and strong supporters of technology."

Under Johnson's leadership, the department accelerated the rollout of this tool after sending "secret shoppers" into branch offices earlier this year. Long waits emerged as a consistent theme.

Every year, more than 10 million people visit their local Secretary of State office, Johnson explained. Of the 9 million license plate/tab renewals processed last year, 6.5 million were processed in the branch offices, she added.

"We saw people waiting in line for an hour just to submit an address change," Johnson said. "For that one service alone, nearly 700,000 people come into our branch offices every year and take a number. With, most of them will be able to complete such transactions from their own homes, from their community library, or anywhere else that has an Internet connection. It's a citizen-centric solution."

Beyond the current services available on, more online transactions are in the works. For example, residents with an enhanced license or ID card will be able to renew it or request a duplicate card online after heightened security measures associated with these documents are completed. Additionally, the Secretary of State plans a major upgrade involving computer software in branch offices, allowing staff to respond more effectively and rapidly to customers who chose to visit an office.

To date, over 100,000 online transactions have already been processed successfully during an early test launch of the site. To encourage broader use and awareness, the Secretary of State rolled out a low-cost campaign with billboards, radio spots and, of course, online advertisements. The message: "ExpressSOS: The online, no-wait Secretary of State."


For media questions, please contact Gisgie Dávila Gendreau, Michigan Department of State, at 517-373-2520; or Kurt Weiss, Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, at 517-335-0050.

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