The public will have an easier time accessing records at the Department of State due to an online tool launched this week by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Under the previous system, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests had to be made by email, fax, mail, or in person and would be manually reviewed and assigned to the appropriate business area of the department.
- The new online portal aims to make requests easier and results more accessible.
- Responsive documents will also be posted and searchable by keyword, without an additional fee.
- Requests made on the new portal will be automatically routed and processed in fewer steps than the prior system.
- Documents containing highly personal information will not be published on the website, nor will information from the state’s Qualified Voter File, as it changes rapidly.
In the wake of recently signed legislation implementing financial disclosure for candidates, Secretary Benson called for additional reforms, including:
- Requiring corporations to disclose 501c3, 501c4, and 527 political donations.
- Prohibiting foreign-influence companies from making unlimited donations to Super PACs and ballot question committees.
- Prohibiting state contractors from making unlimited political donations to politicians who approve their contracts, which would be consistent with federal law.
- Limiting the number of Leadership PACs a candidate can have in Michigan.
To access the portal, please visit Michigan.gov/MDOSFOIA.