2012 “ExpressSOS” Voter Registration Drive starts Tuesday

 The Secretary of State’s mobile office will hit the road this week as part of a far-reaching voter registration drive to colleges, universities and community centers across the state.

The “ 2012 ExpressSOS Voter Registration Drive” the tour will also help publicize the Secretary of State’s new online services at ExpressSOS.com.

“Voting is a fundamental freedom and we want everyone who wants to do so to cast a ballot on Election Day,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “Our mobile office will be a convenient way for community members and college students to get registered so they can have their vote count, their voice heard.”

The deadline to vote in the Nov. 6 general election is Oct. 9.

To date, the mobile office tour includes stops at 20 different colleges and community centers, though more dates are expected to be added. The tour starts in the Upper Peninsula with a visit to Lake Superior State University on Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Johnson said the new voter registration drive will supplement other efforts to register new voters, including:

·         A postcard sent to every 18 year old on their birthday reminding them to register to vote.

·         On-the-spot voter registration for newly sworn citizens at naturalization ceremonies across the state.

·         A policy in which branch office customers who come in for personal ID or driver’s licenses are asked if they want to register to vote, provided they are U.S. citizens. (A comparison of census data and Secretary of State numbers indicate less than half a p ercent of Michigan residents do not have a state-issued ID.)

Johnson said she hopes some of the new technology adopted by the department will also attract new and young voters, including a new mobile version of the state’s online Michigan Voter Information Center . Smart phone users can use their phone to see a sample ballot, find their voting location and ensure they are registered to vote. The state also launched an iPhone app earlier this year – called the Michigan Campaign Finance Search – so smart phone users could access campaign contribution records.

In addition to voter registration, the mobile office serves as a full-service branch office so customers will be able to change their address, renew their driver’s license, get their tabs or perform any other Secretary of State services.

Staff will be available to answer questions about voter ID, absentee ballots, locating a sample ballot and finding their polling place.

ExpressSOS.com, launched in October, continues to offer the most popular Secretary of State services online. Already, more than 1.5 million ExpressSOS.com transactions have been successfully handled.

“That means more than a million people didn’t have to drive to our office, park, take a number and wait in line,” said Johnson. “Customers love it. It really is our no-wait Secretary of State.”

Residents are also encouraged to visit www.ExpressSOS.com to conduct business online. For more information about Secretary of State office locations and services, visit www.michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/michsos and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/michigansos.

Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

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