Three priorities that define Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s tenure
Johnson releases short video of department’s accomplishments
The mission of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office can be summed up in three words, “serve,” “secure” and “protect,” according to Ruth Johnson, elected the state’s 42nd Secretary of State in 2010.
Since taking office, Johnson and her staff have concentrated on positioning her office for the challenges of the 21st century by defining three top priorities: customer service, elections’ integrity and consumer protection. Now, in the final year of her administration, she is releasing a short video summarizing the achievements of the last seven years.
The key priority of Johnson has been to secure the protection and integrity of Michigan’s elections. Under her administration, more than 1.2 million names of voters who had died, moved out of state or were otherwise not eligible to vote were removed from the state’s Qualified Voter File rolls. In addition, new voting equipment that is easier to use and provides greater security was purchased for every city and township. Johnson saved $30 million in federal money and successfully advocated the Legislature to contribute $10 million.
Since taking office, 563,000 people who died, 134,000 who moved out of state and 3,500 noncitizens have been removed from the voter list. The department also has an ongoing subscription with the Security Social Administration to identify and remove people who have died.
“I’ve spent a lot of time listening to people’s thoughts and concerns with the Secretary of State’s Office,” Johnson said. “I’ve also talked extensively with staff about their vision. We’re focused on a customer-focused agency dedicated to integrity, consumer protection and better service delivery.”
Johnson’s other priority is customer service, using technology to provide better, faster services. Today, innovations such as ExpressSOS.com, an online powerhouse for Secretary of State services, and MI-TIME Line, which allows customers to make an appointment or hold their place in line by phone, kiosk or computer, are used routinely by millions of residents across the state.
Shutting down fraudulent activities and protecting consumers is Johnson’s other priority. The department’s Office of Investigative Services, which was created by Johnson, targets illegal activity, including fraudulent auto insurance certificates, vehicle registrations and titles, defective auto repairs, bad warranties and repair-plagued vehicles. Since 2015, the OIS has shut down 48 unregistered auto repair shops and 62 car dealerships, and processed 347 criminal warrant requests.