Michigan SOS computer system launch causes delays

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Michigan Secretary of State offices and online services went dark during a major weekend computer upgrade.

Some Secretary of State locations in Michigan experienced brief delays Tuesday after launching a new computer system for its offices and online services. 

The upgrade caused about a 90-minute delay in processing vehicle titles Tuesday morning, said Shawn Starkey, a Michigan Department of State spokesman. 

"We just replaced a system that was built 50 years ago, you're going to have some small hiccups," he said. "The system was never shut down. It had some delays as any new system would."

Starkey said offices had longer wait times because all branches and online services were closed from 5 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Tuesday, causing some backup. 

Delays were expected by officials who said office services might take longer as employees get familiar with the new system.

"This is a long-term game, we realize there’s going to be longer lines, but in the end, customers will be provided better and quicker services with more transactions available on kiosks and online," Starkey said.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called upgrading to a new computer system a “vital project.” It was in the works before she took office on Jan. 1.

Late fees will be waived for those with vehicle registrations expiring between Feb. 11 and March 2.

The new system includes upgrades to electronic records, which will eliminate paperwork. Vehicle owners will be able to order a license plate, renew a snowmobile registration or order a state park passport at www.Michigan.gov/sos. Auto dealers and repair shops will find online options, too.

To avoid wait times because of the computer upgrade, Secretary of State officials are encouraging people to use online services at ExpressSOS and avoid going to offices if possible. 

Twitter: @SarahRahal_