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Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson visits Kalamazoo office

"We're offering more convenient service options than ever before, including more online transactions, self-service stations at grocery stores, and in-person office service that gets people in and out in an average of just 20 minutes," said Benson. "And it's now easy to book visits in Kalamazoo, Portage, Battle Creek, and other offices throughout the region, with visits available for the same day, next day, next week and further in advance nearly all the time."

The abundance of office availability reflects the dramatic improvements made by Benson's administration. In November 2018, the average wait time for a visitor to the Kalamazoo office was 88 minutes before they received assistance. Now, the average time visitors spend in any Secretary of State office is 20 minutes total, including the time they conduct their transaction with staff.

"Secretary Benson knows the value of meeting people where they're at and we are appreciative of that in Kalamazoo, especially as people are still grappling with a return to normalcy. I cannot thank her enough for her relentless support of the hardworking staff at our branch offices, and her willingness to see firsthand how they are operating, where improvements can be made, and what issues matter most to our residents," said Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), who joined Benson for the visit. "This people-first approach to service resulting in one less thing to worry about or stress over is exactly the relief people need as they tend to responsibilities and as we work to emerge from this pandemic together." 

Michiganders have embraced the service improvements made by Benson, and now more than half - 60 percent - of all transactions are conducted without visiting a Secretary of State office. This is up from just 26 percent in 2018. The change is in part the result of Benson making more services available online and at self-service stations. She also replaced the state's 93 self-service stations - which broke down frequently - with more than 150 new machines installed through a public-private partnership that cost taxpayers nothing.

"I appreciate Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson visiting Kalamazoo today and keeping tabs on what our local branches need to better serve the public," state Representative Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) said. "As we continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded, accessible and convenient services are needed now more than ever."

Residents have also embraced the ability to schedule their visit ahead of time, which they can do online at Michigan.gov/SOS or by calling 888-SOS-MICH. In all, 88 percent of office visits are scheduled ahead of time. Residents can also walk up to any office and they will be served immediately if there is availability or assisted with scheduling a return visit at a time convenient for them.

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