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Letter: Secretary of State Benson's reforms have improved services

Nolan Finley’s assertion that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has made it almost impossible to renew license plates and driver’s licenses before they expire ("GOP can't hear opportunity knocking," July 18) ignores reality and misinforms readers. 

The truth is that, thanks to Benson’s reforms, nearly every resident can renew their plates and licenses from home without visiting an office — and if they do need to come to an office, they can do so conveniently and efficiently without having to wait hours in line.

Indeed, under Benson’s leadership, service-driven improvements include efficient scheduled visits and walk-up service at every office, all of which are now open extended hours; 150 new, state-of-the-art kiosks for renewing in grocery stores and branch offices; and in-person services provided in an average of just 20 minutes.

This is all true despite decades of disinvestment and neglect from Republican legislators and previous secretaries of state that closed nearly half the department’s offices, forcing countless Michigan residents to take the day off work just to get service.

It was also Republican lawmakers who decided that 13 months of renewals backlogged due to the pandemic should all expire on one day, compounding the demand for service this year. The Legislature has recently passed legislation to extend the deadline.   

Make no mistake: Benson is fixing the problems caused by decades of ineffective leadership to make government work for all Michigan residents, and I challenge anyone to try the new system by visiting an office now.

State Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit