Mich. Secretary of State branches reopen after outage

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

The Secretary of State is back in business Friday afternoon following a "computer system outage" that left customers in Michigan unable to conduct transactions in person or online.

The glitch was reported just after 9 a.m. on the Secretary of State's official Twitter page. The system was restored by 3 p.m. Friday.

"Secretary of State offices are back up and able to perform transactions. We apologize for the inconvenience people experienced," officials said in a pair of tweets. "Online services at also are now available again."

All late fees will be waived for people who needed to renew documents expiring on Friday, said spokesman Fred Woodhams.

The Secretary of State's website and branch offices are used to renew vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses and to conduct other business.

Woodhams said officials learned of the outage shortly before offices opened at 9 a.m. Friday.

The outage traced back to an outdated mainframe system that has supported the Secretary of State system for decades, Woodhams said. That mainframe was down for most of the business day, meaning the department's system could not operate.

"We run an old mainframe system that we’ve been working to replace for years now. This was a system that was largely created in the late 1960s, early 1970s," Woodhams said. "We had a contractor, Hewlett-Packard, that we had hired to build a new system. They failed to deliver on that project. We fired them as our contractor and we are still aggressively pursuing our lawsuit."

The state sued  Hewlett-Packard Co. in September 2015, accusing the company of failing to deliver on a $49 million contract.

The Secretary of State expects to hire a new contractor "in the next few weeks" to build a new system, Woodhams said.

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