Mar 15 2023
Data Center

Illinois Secretary of State Eyes Technology Enhancements in 2023 and Beyond

A transition report surveys the road ahead and identifies changes needed to streamline the user experience.

Newly sworn-in Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias recently released a transition report detailing technology enhancements his office will undertake to modernize outdated systems, equipment and processes to make services more accessible and easier to use.

The Office of the Secretary of State’s Technology Enhancement Committee 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.

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A Shift to Streamlined, Accessible Online Services 

Since taking office in January, Giannoulias has made modernization one of his major priorities.

“We have to bring new technology and modernization into every element of the Secretary of State's office,” he said in an interview with WCBU, an NPR-affiliate radio station in Illinois. “We want to … narrow that digital divide [with] more online resources.”

The report reflects this vision as the office aims to provide mostly digital experiences for its constituents and employees.

Comments from constituents revealed dissatisfaction with the inability to do certain things online, such as vote or renew driver’s licenses. Giannoulias’s office aims to address these issues in the short term by expanding its 2-year-old “Skip the Line” program to include an appointment scheduling system. Long term, the office looks to further streamline services and reduce wait times by:

  • implementing digital IDs and registrations
  • enabling document uploads and online payment processing
  • updating computers and other machines to allow for faster transactions

For now, the focus remains on improving current capabilities.

“We will have digital IDs and digital driver’s license[s] and [an] E-title system, we’re going to do all that,” Giannoulias told Capitol News Illinois. “But right now, we have to modernize the current process as is.”

Accessibility is another core component of the office’s technological enhancements. One long-term action involves creating the Secretary of State app, which would include licensing services, information on road conditions and other features. The office also looks to invest in language processing, translation services, virtual assistants, QR codes and intelligent chatbots to provide greater and more frequent support for constituents.

DISCOVER: Why modernizing IT is a top priority for state and local governments.

Creating Integrated User Experiences Statewide

Because the office’s IT infrastructure is outdated, software and systems are fragmented and disconnected across departments, creating potentially frustrating user experiences. One constituent suggested a new system called “one person, one record,” which would consolidate systems and online portals. This would allow users to access information more easily and perform tasks in one place.

Constituents have noted that a lack of clear communication contributes to confusing experiences online, citing difficulties navigating the website, knowing where to go next and making sense of instructions.

To address these challenges, the Giannoulias’s office intends to create a roadmap to build an integrated digital experience. In the long term, that means combining registration processes, consolidating services and enabling interoperability within Secretary of State systems, and between the Office of Secretary of State and other jurisdictions, to deliver overlapping services.


Alexi Giannoulias
We have to bring new technology and modernization into every element of the Secretary of State's office”

Alexi Giannoulias Illinois Secretary of State

Advancing Technology Capabilities Through Workforce Development

Down the line, the office plans to make further technological improvements by investing in workforce development and collaboration. This includes more robust recruitment and retention strategies to attract top talent and keep IT employees, supplementing the IT team with contractors to maintain staff levels, and procuring better collaboration tools to break down silos. Recruitment and retention would involve using tech hiring specialists, developing local workforce partnerships and improving the overall employee value proposition in terms of pay, training and advancement.

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