The Secretary of State
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
Elected as Michigan's 42nd Secretary of
State in November 2010, Ruth Johnson serves as chief motor vehicle
administrator and chief election officer for the state's nearly 10
million residents. She also maintains the state's official repository of
records and certifies documents as Keeper of the Great Seal. She is
second in line of succession to the governor.
As secretary, Johnson
has made huge strides in streamlining operations, improving customer
service and safeguarding election integrity. Using technology and common
sense and by fostering partnerships between the private and public
sectors, her team at the Department of State cut costs, reduced their
general fund budget by 20 percent and improved efficiency for the people
Among her accomplishments, Johnson tripled online services with the
launch of ExpressSOS.com. This "no-wait" Secretary of State allows
customers to complete the department's most popular transactions online,
24-hours a day, from their home or office computer and is cutting branch
wait times for customers.
She also successfully introduced a comprehensive election reform
package, her Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) initiative to clean up
Michigan's voter rolls, toughen campaign finance laws and ensure
integrity in the elections process. As part of this effort, she fought
for – and won – the most significant election reform measures in
recent history. The new laws help ensure that only qualified voters cast
a ballot on Election Day. They close photo ID loopholes and help voters
"follow the money" contributed to candidates and parties. The laws also
fight cheating – like ballot coaching in nursing homes and help protect
the vote of overseas military members.
Additionally, Johnson made
expanding Michigan's organ donor list a priority through new policies
and an awareness campaign. Working with SOS employees and partners Gift
of Life Michigan and the Michigan Eye-Bank, the efforts paid off with
historic gains – a record-setting one million Michiganders added their
names to the donor lists during Johnson's first two years in office.
Johnson's work as secretary
continues a distinguished career in public service. As a three-term
member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1999 through 2004,
she also served on the Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Education,
Health Policy and Transportation Committees.
During her time as a
legislator, Johnson, a fiscal conservative, led investigations into the
misappropriation of funds at the Oakland County Intermediate School
District that resulted in the conviction of a public official and
restored money earmarked for kids.
In 2004, Johnson was the first woman ever elected to serve as Oakland
County's clerk/register of deeds. As clerk for the state's
second-largest county, she won 14 national awards for innovative
services that saved money and promoted transparency and accountability.
She doubled online services, put campaign finance records online,
successfully changed laws to help families in foreclosure, and
co-founded OPERATION: OUR TROOPS COUNT to ensure voting rights for
overseas military. In 2006, she was a nominee for lieutenant governor in
From 1988 to 1998, Secretary Johnson was a member of the Oakland
County Board of Commissioners. As commissioner, she tackled such issues
as putting prisoners to work and instituting countywide performance
audits that provide accountability in government.
A lifelong resident of northern Oakland County, Johnson is also a
former small business owner. She is a graduate of Waterford Township
High School and has an associate's degree from Oakland Community
College, a bachelor's degree from Oakland University and a master's
degree from Wayne State University, with honors. She lives in Holly with
her husband, Don Nanney, a small-business owner, and their daughter,
State Ruth Johnson Press Photo