Secretary of State
The Department of State is the oldest department within Michigan state government and is administered by the secretary of state. Elected to a four-year term with a maximum of two terms, the secretary of state is a member of the executive branch and has constitutional as well as statutory duties.
The secretary of state is the chief motor vehicle administrator and chief election officer for the state’s 10 million residents and is a voting member of several state boards and commissions, including the State Administrative Board, Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission and Michigan Truck Safety Commission. In the event of concurrent vacancies in the office of governor and lieutenant governor, including absence from the state, the secretary of state serves as governor.
Michigan is one of two states where the secretary of state has authority over election processes as well as vehicle registrations and the licensing of drivers. Other duties include administration of driver education and traffic safety programs; document certification as Keeper of the Great Seal, which provides the highest level of document certification in the state; and management of the notary public program. The department also maintains the state’s official repository of records, including state and local government records, state statutes and commercial financing statements. Additionally, the department administers the state’s organ donor registry.
The Department of State’s organizational structure includes the Bureau of Elections, Customer Services Administration, Legal Services Administration and several offices administered by the department’s chief of staff.
The Bureau of Elections is responsible for overseeing elections in Michigan and relevant programs, including campaign-finance and lobbyist disclosure. The bureau oversees the coordination of 83 county clerks, county canvassing boards, election commissions, and 1,500 city and township clerks. The elections director serves as secretary to the Board of State Canvassers, a constitutional body responsible for canvassing petitions to place statewide ballot questions before voters and for canvassing nominating petitions and election results for all statewide offices, certain congressional and legislative offices and all judicial offices.
The Customer Services Administration (CSA) includes the Office of Continuous Improvement & Transformation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, Office of Customer Service, Branch Office Support Services, Office of Customer Records and Office of Occupancy Services. CSA operates a network of 131 branch offices providing driver’s licensing, vehicle titling and registration and voter registration. The Office of Continuous Improvement & Transformation focuses on improving the customer experience and the employee experience through insights and data-driven decisions. The Bureau of Traffic Safety manages and oversees driver and vehicle records; traffic safety initiatives; and driver licensing, assessment and education. The Office of Customer Service oversees Uniform Commercial Code services and serves International Registration Plan vehicle owners. Branch Office Support Services provides assistance to secretary of state offices across the state in serving customers. The Office of Occupancy Services oversees the department’s facilities located in every county of the state.
The Legal Services Administration (LSA) provides legal support to the secretary of state, and includes the Office of Legal Policy, Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight, and Office of Investigative Services as well as support to the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Office of Legal Policy oversees implementation of Proposal 18-3 and other policy initiatives and provides legal support. The Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight employs hearing officers who hold hearings on driver’s license appeals as well as administrative hearings for business licenses and certifications. It also administers the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Program. The Office of Investigative Services is made up of the Business Compliance and Regulation Division, which covers automotive business licensing and compliance; the Regulatory Monitoring Division, which investigates licensed and registered automotive-related businesses and other vehicle-related regulatory issues; and the Enforcement Division, which contains the Fraud Investigation Section, Investigative Analytics Section and Branch Review and Special Programs Section. The Department of State is responsible for implementing the application process for the new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that now exists in the state constitution to oversee the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts after every decennial census. The secretary of state serves as the secretary of the commission.
Chief of Staff-administered offices include the Bureau of Programs, Integration & Delivery; Office of Human Resources; Office of Communications; the Legislative Liaison; and Office of Public Engagement. The Bureau of Programs, Integration & Delivery includes the Office of Program Support, Information Security and Control Division, Technology & Project Services Division and Financial Services Division.