How to end lines for licenses: Secretary of state candidates stress need for more efficiency

Secretary of state candidates stress need for more efficiency

  • A line forms outside an Illinois secretary of state facility Friday in Elgin. The five candidates running for secretary of state are offering proposals to increase efficiency.

      A line forms outside an Illinois secretary of state facility Friday in Elgin. The five candidates running for secretary of state are offering proposals to increase efficiency. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Dan Brady

    Dan Brady

  • John Milhiser

    John Milhiser

  • Anna Valencia

    Anna Valencia

  • David Moore

    David Moore

  • Alexi Giannoulias

    Alexi Giannoulias

Posted5/30/2022 5:30 AM

When they're not pointing fingers at each other, the five candidates running for Illinois secretary of state agree on a few things.

One, lines at DMVs are bad. Two, better technology is needed to increase online services and get customers in and out faster.


Here is a closer look at why Republicans state Rep. Dan Brady and former prosecutor John Milhiser plus Democrats former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Alderman David Moore and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia think they deserve your vote in the June 28 primaries.

At a Thursday forum in Chicago for the Democratic candidates, Giannoulias advocated for digital driver's licenses and digital IDs. "This creates efficiencies and helps reduce lines."

He also supports a secretary of state app with services such as licenses and titles, in addition to online vision tests. "Other states are doing it; the technology exists," Giannoulias said.

Valencia proposes an app also, but "we want to make sure there isn't a digital divide -- not everyone has Wi-Fi."

To bridge that gap, she would launch mobile service teams to visit communities. "We're looking at Saturday hours or evening hours once a month so people don't have to take time off work," she said.

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Moore supports allowing digital license plates, currently allowed in Arizona and being explored in other states, that are similar in look and size to conventional ones but with screen displays.

"Right now we have an epidemic of carjacking," Moore said. "One of the things these digital licenses will do is -- if your car is stolen or carjacked -- it will display 'Stolen' on it."

During a Daily Herald editorial board session for the Republicans, Brady said many driver services facilities "haven't been fully staffed for years. How about cross-training those individuals so they know more roles in the office so they can help more people when they come in?"

Brady also wants to partner with community colleges by leasing space to offer services such as driver testing for commercial and passenger vehicles.

Milhiser supports an app and modernizing the agency's data systems. He cited law enforcement officials who say Illinois provides less information on driver's licenses or plates than other states.


"We need to improve the in-person experience" at secretary of state offices, Milhiser added. "The DMV office looks eerily similar to what it did 28 years ago," when he moved to Illinois.

The candidates are divided on whether motorcyclists should be required to wear helmets.

Valencia and Giannoulias agreed with helmets. "I think road safety is so important," she said.

Giannoulias noted "anything we can do to increase public safety should be paramount."

Moore said he'd spoken with motorcyclists and "I think that adults should have a choice. But I think minors definitely should be required to wear a helmet."

On the Republican side, Milhiser agreed that motorcycle riders should have a choice.

"We know helmets keep people safe, and I would encourage everyone to wear one," he said. "However, I do not support government mandates on helmets."

On the price of Illinois vehicle stickers, which now cost $151 after a 2020 increase, Brady said, "I'd like to reduce those." He called himself the only "experienced legislator who has the contacts necessary to put forth good legislation."

Milhiser also thinks the fees should be decreased. "It's just another tax and just another example of Illinois taxing more than surrounding states," he said.

Moore said the "fees are too high and they can be lowered. It's about the political will to do it, and I will challenge our legislators to bring that cost down."

Valencia would not decrease the fee that "provides a much-needed stream of revenue that goes into the road fund," a spokesman said Friday. Instead, she would create a "reduced-term sticker," letting people pay in installments, he added.

The winner of the primaries will face off in the fall to replace longtime Secretary of State Jesse White, who is stepping down.

Got an opinion on the race? Drop an email to

Gridlock alert

Sorry, Glenview. IDOT crews will close Central Road at the Union Pacific crossing for repairs between Milwaukee Avenue and River Road on June 7 and 8.

One more thing

On Thursday, Metra will stop accepting one-way and 10-ride tickets that expired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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