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Some report problems with new secretary of state online appointment process

Monday, Sep 18, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Marni Pyke

After 1½ weeks of trying, Rolling Meadows resident Frank Leo got a lucky break — an appointment to renew his driver’s license.

It was 49 miles away in Joliet, but with his license due to expire Monday, the 83-year-old wasn’t taking any chances.

“It has been impossible to get an appointment” within a reasonable distance, Leo said. “It is a fight every morning to find what facility has openings. And they disappear in seconds. It’s absolutely ludicrous.”

A number of other drivers, mainly seniors, described similar problems using the Illinois secretary of state’s new Skip the Line system that debuted Sept. 1.

The SoS will have two mobile units for seniors soon, and time slots will be blocked out for seniors.

I’ve heard of other problems with the new appointment system, but I was wondering if any of y’all have had any difficulties with the new system so far.


  1. - JB13 - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:05 am:

    “Skip the Line”

    If you don’t allow walk-ins, then there is no “line” to “skip.” And if there aren’t enough appointments available to meet actual needs, what exactly has been achieved, other than hurting actual people?

  2. - Chicagonk - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:08 am:

    Alexi didn’t really think this one through.

  3. - Zoo - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:10 am:

    “Everyone doesn’t use the internet?” Asked the frat boys. What a mess

  4. - Friendly Bob Adams - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:10 am:

    I’m sure there is a better way to implement something like this- perhaps phase it in over time. This all-or-nothing idea seems bad on its face.

    I have a renewal coming up in October, so this is not good news.

  5. - Contren - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:15 am:

    Recommend anyone who is able to renew tabs/license online to do it that way. Much easier than going into a facility if you don’t need to do so.

  6. - JS Mill - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:21 am:

    Closing on Saturday morning is a real pain in the behind. And the appointment system did not work for us, had o take time off to get a couple of things done. Not the end of the world by any means, but it is just one more hassle that didn’t need to be.

  7. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:21 am:

    Since seniors have to renew licenses more frequently than others and have to also take the written and driving tests this change hits them more than others. And I would suppose many seniors are not that comfortable doing stuff on line. So it i a brilliant idea to tic off seniors who tend to vote

  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:24 am:

    Alexi owns.

    A smarter politics was always not “reinventing” plans or ideas, claiming them as his…

    The politics coulda been…

    “We are working tirelessly to make these plans better that are existing, the curve to the better will be a learning for us all”

    This ridiculous

    ===A number of other drivers, mainly seniors, described similar problems using the Illinois secretary of state’s new Skip the Line system===

    “Seniors, amirite?”

    No, you’re not right. Catering TO seniors was always a winning staple to the politics of the office, aggravating seniors is counter productive to what you hope to accomplish being SoS.

    I’ll look forward to another “belly time” social media pic of Alexi showing how to do this online. Ugh.

  9. - Max Planck - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:34 am:

    Some Truisms from Illinois:

    1. Running things is harder than press releases make it sound.

    2. Personnel is policy. When your press team is outshining your operations, it tells us your priorities.

  10. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:37 am:

    “It has been impossible to get an appointment”

    This is all part of Alexi’s Transition. He is learning that campaign promises and first-week proclamations are more than simply words. Alexi needs to walk before he runs.

    “Newly Sworn in …. identified both short- and long-term actions to speed services and make them more user-friendly. In the short term, that includes developing an appointment scheduling system, streamlining the digital user experience and improving data accessibility. Long-term actions include implementing digital IDs, document uploads, online and digital payments, and an app for the Secretary of State’s office”

  11. - Jim Fritts - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:46 am:

    The Governor signed a bill requiring the SOS to develop evidence based criteria for requiring seniors of any age to take a driving test. Illinois is the only state to require it. What is the status of that change? It is not only humane but would reduce the appointment problem.

  12. - Tim - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:49 am:

    Out of curiosity, I have been looking at the SOS appointment website every day for the last week. Most facilities don’t have appointments available for the next two weeks if you check in the afternoon. Some have a handful of same-day appointments, and then nothing until the last day of the 15-day window.

    My opinion: They should extend the window to 30 days. I think a lot of people who are used to walking in the day their license expires will be sorely disappointed in the coming months.

  13. - Lulu in Lake - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:56 am:

    It’s a capacity problem. People call the appointment hotline and sit in the queue forever to find there are no appointments, and online they disappear immediately.

    It’s a good goal to work towards, but they rolled it out too fast.

  14. - NIU Grad - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:01 am:

    “When your press team is outshining your operations, it tells us your priorities.”

    Yep. Alexis thinks he can PR-spin his way into a Senate seat, but he’s in THE most visible elected office in the state for direct services. Rolling out a shiny new online system in his first year without any changes to the state’s IT infrastructure is a disaster.

    Politics 101: Seniors vote. That audience generally likes in-person or phone-based services. If every office wasn’t handed to Alexis on a silver platter, he might know this.

  15. - /s - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:05 am:

    I renewed my license over the summer, before the “skip the line” program, but the facility I renewed at was not allowing walk-ins, so I imagine it was pretty similar to the current system. Getting an appointment was a nightmare - I checked online first thing in the morning every day for a week and a half before my birthday and finally managed to snag a day-of appointment the day before (middle of the work day, so not exactly ideal). Got to the facility a few minutes early and proceeded to wait in as long a line (if not even longer) than I did before they had online appointments.

    There were also a number of folks, and yes, they were mostly seniors, outside the facility who clearly thought they could still do walk-in appointments. There was a sign outside the facility with a QR code you could scan to see if a same-day appointment was available, but no one was there to walk them through how to do it. I helped a couple of folks while waiting to get into the facility at my appointment time, but I can only imagine it’s going to be a rough transition across the board.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:20 am:

    The big mistake is thinking Alexi is taking the office or the responsibilities seriously as Secretary of State.

    Alexi was missing for 10 years, decided to run for an office without an incumbent, and ran for the office clearly not taking serious the job or priorities of what the office entailed.

    Alexis’s press shop is running the show to the thought of “gotta stop bad press” as opposed to the blocking and tackling of doing the actual job.

    It’s been about “look at me”, literally too, with ridiculous social media pictures, not “look at the work we do” because the PR is what Alexi is about, first and last.

  17. - Google Is Your Friend - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:21 am:

    ==- Zoo - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 9:10 am:==

    You can call to make an appointment, but to know that you’d have to have more literacy than you are demonstrating with this comment.

  18. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:22 am:

    My small town SOS office (I don’t call it the DMV)
    apparently doesn’t take appointments.
    But the website says “APPOINTMENTS REQUIRED for REAL ID, DL/ID card services and in-car driving tests.”
    So just a little contradictory.

  19. - Drury's Missing Clock - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:26 am:

    Why are they giving extra time to the people who presumably have a much wider window during the day? Seems unfair, especially considering most of those same folks with all day free don’t pay state tax on their retirement income.

  20. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:26 am:

    Anyone who has been to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office knows they do a poor job of catering to Seniors.

    They have a separate line at check in so Seniors don’t have to stand for too long and then for some inexplicable reason they require them stand in the much longer lines for processing and photos

  21. - ;) - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:29 am:

    Parents both had the same issue. So did I. It’s a disaster. So incredibly frustrating, and a prime example of government failing at the simplest of tasks, scheduling appointments. Do better Alexi.

  22. - flea - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:30 am:

    I walked in kline street without an appointment and it took about an hour. I tried to sign up for appointments but they were at facilities 50-60miles away.

  23. - smile politely - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:33 am:

    Indiana has kiosks that do 99 percent of what an in person visit does.

    But this Illinois so we have to pad our payroll.

  24. - Mogman - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:33 am:

    Over the summer I went to re-new my license that had recently expired. I missed the ability to do it online because I had moved and forgotten to update my address so I never received the notification. I went to the facility on North Elston in Chicago at about noon on a Friday and was told I needed an appointment to even get in the door. I immediately went on my phone and the next available appointment was almost two weeks away. After some back and forth a manager ended up telling me they could take me and let me in. There were only about 15 people waiting in the entire building and many employees available to help. I multiple people being turned away at the door for not having an appointment (including seniors). This is not going to go well.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:36 am:


    Please be an election denier too, and talk about how the rigged machines stole…

    Please cite the 99% and give the number of employees Indiana has at the “DMV”… I’d like to see that 99% measured as you like.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 10:51 am:

    - smile politely -

    Instead of waiting on the blank stare and silly grin I used the Google Key… Indiana’s “BMV” (No typo) claims 1,600 workers, with those kiosks I suppose.

    The Google Key also found ILSoS has roughly 4,000 employees in 21 different departments.

    If those kiosks are doing 99% of your measured work, how busy can 1,600 workers be, amirite?


    To the post,

    Alexi’s mistake in SoS is that it’s double edged; SoS is super visible, but doing things poorly is also visible.

    Can’t Instagram out of service not given well

  27. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    Someone didn’t act quickly enough and now the license will expire because the next available appointments are after the expiration date (per the person).

    But as far as “kiosks” Indiana is a joke. The toll roads have no staff to collect money, but machines. Got stuck at one of those for a while because the machine didn’t work. Good thing it eventually worked, because there seemed to be no solution.

  28. - Zoo - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:09 am:

    Frat boy, yes calling for appointments that don’t exist. Good plan. One-termer Alexi

  29. - Red Ketcher - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:21 am:

    Last week Wabash facility - Springfield

    Had walk in item - just needed copy
    Routing all through same Reception station

    1 person 80 + ahead with Appointment
    But some glitch on what he was sent
    Lengthy explanation and back and forth discussion
    So, reception person left

    Went clear to back of building & out of sight
    Past 8 +/- employees at empty service windows

    Several minutes later came back
    Told the elderly gentleman would try to work it in
    But he would have to wait

    I was in no hurry - so wait no big deal
    But then the reception person again left
    Walked down the row to ask & came back

    Then sent me to one of the empty windows
    A very efficient employee
    Issued the duplicate
    Collected the fee
    Had it done in 2 minutes or less

    I left happy

    But convinced that new SOS system is ?

  30. - Hank Sauer - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:27 am:

    They work very hard , 2 appointments per hour should be the standard work load . Let’s hire more state employees

  31. - Jocko - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:29 am:

    ==if drivers are unable to find an appointment that fits with their schedule, we encourage them to check the website regularly==

    As someone with older parents (75+), I can confidently tell you this isn’t going to happen.

  32. - Lowdrag - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    Closing on Saturday ain’t helping folks who work the day shift!!

  33. - PP - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:52 am:

    Alexi did not really need to do this. Just doing things to make himself look good damned the consequences.

  34. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:53 am:

    Tried for weeks at all hours to get an appointment at Lombard. It never showed up in the 15 day advance appointments, only 5 or 6 would, all downstate. Finally found one listed at 06:30 one day for a future date and grabbed it. Definitely not a user friendly system.

  35. - Politix - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:59 am:

    Took my son to Rolling Meadows with a learner’s permit appointment and it went swimmingly. However, it was a 40 minute drive and that was the closest I could get when scheduling.

  36. - harp5339 - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:32 pm:

    My wife (not a senior) has been trying since 09/01 to get an appointment in either Elgin or Schaumburg, with no luck. I finally managed to score one on her behalf on 09/30 this a.m. because I was up early.

  37. - thisjustinagain - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:37 pm:

    Have to go in to renew Real ID. Looked Sunday 9/17, no appointments anywhere close to me. Looked this morning 9/18, have appt. for 2:30 today about 5 miles from me in South Burbs of Chicago. There were more than 10 appointment slots available when I scheduled mine. We’ll see how the actual SOS visit goes.

  38. - valrade - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:42 pm:


    Been bugging Hubby for 6 weeks to get his license renewed before our vacation. His license expired on the last day while we were out of state.

    The day before he told me he didn’t do it. So I went online on a Saturday for Elston. I found an appointment for 4 days after his expiration. It’s his fault for not doing his work, but the process was pretty quick.

    Now what happens on the day at Elston is a different matter.

  39. - smile politely - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:57 pm:

    One can visit a Kiosk 24 7. a) got new plates b) transferred plates all within 5 minutes and at 7pm on a Sunday. Now as to your “cite” request. I am the “cite” I was there in person and as to your BMV crack. I knew it was the INDIANA Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You apparently did not.

    Can you do that OW? No?

  40. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:01 pm:

    - smile politely -

    So, you live in Indiana?

    That explains the blank stare and the silent goofy smile.

    I notice you didn’t address your own ridiculousness, or the 1,600 workers and what they do if you can, as an Indiana resident, do all those things…

    At this point my favorite aunt would distract my in-law uncle with the cheese tray she put out.

    Anecdotal ain’t data… what exactly do the 1,600 workers do, aren’t you angry there are so many of them doing nothing?

  41. - Just Another Anon - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:05 pm:

    >When your press team is outshining your operations, it tells us your priorities.

    Hear, Hear! Almost like electing “Broadway Bank” Alexi was a political decision, not one based on his management acumen.

  42. - smile politley - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:15 pm:


    I own three homes. One in Indiana one in Illinois and one in florida? How is that bad? You really need to be less snarky. Makes you look mean.

  43. - DuPage - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:23 pm:

    Years ago, Lombard had huge hours-long lines extending out into the parking lot anytime I drove over to renew and so I looked online and there was a website with customer reviews of their SOS experiences. I was thinking of going out to DeKalb until I read the reviews. One woman said if she had to choose between death or going back to the DeKalb SOS office, she would choose death. When she got there at opening time someone was sick and couldn’t come in, and so a total of 1 SOS employee was stuck with doing everything. Another SOS employee was promised from somewhere downstate arriving after lunch, and he was able to do a few road tests. Closing time arrived and the customer along with dozens of others was told “sorry, come back tomorrow”.
    A lot of problems are caused by shortages of SOS employees, and it has been going on for a long time. Alexi, instead of trying to solve the problems with your whiz-bang appointment scheduling, start first with some adequate staffing.

  44. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:30 pm:

    ===How is that bad?===

    Friend, not once did I say having 3 homes was bad.

    You told me you, in as a resident in Indiana, you used the kiosk. I found that charmingly humorous.

    What about those lazy 1,600 Indiana “B”MV workers, as you bemoaned the ILSoS workers.

    ===You really need to be less snarky.===


    It’s not snarky to wonder aloud as you contemplate 1% worries of owning 3 homes and the ILSoS workforce.

    Lemme know how you will cut those 1,600 workers in Indiana that pad that payroll.

    To Illinois, it’s not about “payroll” but access, especially for challenging seniors with online appointments.

  45. - smile politely - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:40 pm:


    I am a senior so your worry about appointments is touching. But as i said before, I can go to a kiosk and get my title, get my plates, renew my DL renew my registration 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Why cannot Illinois have kiosks? They do for gun registrations but not for vehicle registrations? Odd.

  46. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:53 pm:

    ===But as i said before===

    “Dear, the cheese plate, come have some”

    ===Why cannot Illinois have kiosks?===

    You said it was to pad payroll yet you can’t explain why Indiana needs 1,600 workers that you are fine having.

    Start with the Swiss, it’s delicious.


    It’s not touching to me or if it could even matter to you, heck, I dunno where you vote, lol

    Now, Illinois seniors vote, they don’t like bad service, or using the computer-thingy, apparently, but especially when they can’t get appointments.

  47. - thisjustinagain - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 4:59 pm:

    SOS Midlothian facility with more employees trying to look busy, because according to 2 employees people aren’t used to the new open Mondays hours. One also told me the appointment system updates at 6:30 am, so you may get a shot at appointments by checking early. I scheduled mine and got in same day. In and out about 20 minutes for REAL ID renewal, vision test, fee payment, and returned old license plates for destruction. “Midlo” used to be crowded sometimes; much better with appointment system. I’m sure some offices are still getting used to things; also the office had “help wanted” notices up for part-time positions. Didn’t know they even had part-time SOS employees.

  48. - Frida's boss - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 5:37 pm:

    So I haven’t had to do it anything through SOS with a license or any services yet but I decided to just check out the site.

    If you need a driver’s test there are no appointments in Chicago or the collar counties available.

    if you need License and ID services you can get an appointment in Melrose Park on 10/3/2023 or Chicago Southside on 9/27/2023, Woodstock on 10/4/2023 or Lake Zurich on 10/4/2023.

    That’s just ridiculous.

  49. - RNUG - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 7:13 pm:

    == The Governor signed a bill requiring the SOS to develop evidence based criteria for requiring seniors of any age to take a driving test. Illinois is the only state to require it. What is the status of that change? It is not only humane but would reduce the appointment problem. ==

    I suspect it is in place or somewhat in place. As most you know or assume, I’m a senior citizen. I was recently mailed a notice offering renewal online or by mail because of my driving record. Opted to do by mail. Haven’t gotten my license yet, but I did see where SoS cashed my check. So we’ll see how that goes …

    Related … plates on one car were due and too late to mail in, so I dropped in to the new facility on Wabash in Springfield. Literally walked in, got in the non-existent line for renewals, and was out of the place in less than 3 minutes. Other transactions were appointment only, but they weren’t busy. The person ahead of me was a walk-in and they gave him a number. Looked like he only had 4 or 5 people ahead of him.

  50. - RNUG - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 7:28 pm:

    == Have to go in to renew Real ID. ==

    News to me. I have a RealID license and SoS offered me mail or online option.

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