Michigan Secretary of State Should Keep The Appointment-Only System
When Michigan Secretary of State offices switched to an appointment-only approach, I am not going to lie, I really did not see an issue with it.
However, as I saw more and more people consistently struggling to get said appointments and still have to wait far past their appointment times, I did start to get more uneasy about it...until I experienced it for myself.
Appointment Only At MI SOS Branches
In the past year, Michigan Secretary of State offices announced they would be keeping the appointment-only system put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic indefinitely.
In July, according to Bridge Michigan, they did extend their hours in an attempt to address a backlog of appointments.
The decision was met with mixed reactions as it did make it harder to get those coveted appointment slots, which in turn made it so people getting things like their tabs and registrations renewed were overdue by the time they got what they needed.
To address that problem, Governor Whitmer signed a bill at the end of July that allowed extended grace periods as long as people could prove they had an appointment on the books.
All in all, while it seemed messy and as the Secretary of State felt like they were addressing one problem, three more popped up somewhere else.
However, after my personal experience, it seems like they've got it pretty well figured out!
How It Works at the Jackson SOS Branch
Now that August has rolled around and my 25th birthday is coming up, I had to not only renew my tabs and registration but my driver's license as well which meant I had to make an appointment and go in person (or so I thought).
I understand I got extremely lucky to get an appointment before my birthday on the 24th, one that was also a few days after I had logged on trying to find one.
The only other appointments before August 24th (which would make my tabs and registration late) was on August 9th and here is how it went:
Appointment-Only SOS System in Action in Jackson
The System Can Work, If You Time It Right
Not only does this system, I feel, work out better than anything I have ever experienced in any SOS branch from the two I visited in Grand Rapids, to the one in Adrian to the one in Jackson. This was BY FAR my best experience there.
One thing I didn't realize until I looked over my paperwork one more time, is you can still do renewals online...so definitely look into the service you need before you go and see if you can do it without going in person in the first place!
You also can use self-service stations or TRY to get walkup appointments and hope there are slots available but, I'm telling you, this system really eliminates a whole lot of stress.
There was no anxiety, other than just worrying if I had my correct documents, and even the staff seemed to be more relaxed.
I can't imagine what it must have been like in the past to be dealing with one difficult guest only to look out onto the floor and see hundreds more who look just as frustrated as the person with a bad attitude in front of you.
Of course, I'm sure there are busier days, harder days, or days where this system has its own faults but I think the appointments are starting to get caught up and now can run a whole lot more smoothly.
All in all, it feels good to be confident in being able to go to the "Secretariah' State" and have it not be a totally draining, soul-sucking experience.