About Ruth Johnson
Michigan’s 42nd Secretary of State
Ruth Johnson has always been a fighter. Since she was elected in 2010, she’s fought to change the way government works for you – to protect your vote, to improve customer service and to make government more accountable to the people it serves:
Customer Service – Better. Faster. More Convenient.
- Launched ExpressSOS.com, tripling online services. To date, the “online, no-wait Secretary of State” has handled more than three million transactions.
- Shortened lines in the branch office system, despite staff levels 25 percent below what they were a decade ago.
- Reduced the department’s general fund budget by 20 percent.
- Put two self-serve stations in retail stores – a Michigan first – as part of a pilot program.
- Customers can now get their milk, bread, eggs and license plate tabs in a single trip.
Election Integrity – Ruth fought for – and won – the most comprehensive election reform in recent history:
- Tough new requirements for campaign contribution reporting so voters can “follow the money,” making elections more transparent and our elected officials more accountable.
- The first-ever election audits and online training for Michigan’s 30,000 poll workers.
- A new U.S. citizenship affirmation on ballot applications.
- Put technology to work by expanding electronic poll books and launching smartphone apps so voters can more easily access critical election information.
- Ensuring Election Integrity by removing those who have died, moved and who are not U.S. Citizens from the voter rolls.
Caring for veterans and Michigan families
- Co-founded OPERATION: OUR TROOPS COUNT, which fights to protect the vote of our overseas military members and assist Michigan’s 680,000 veterans in getting the benefits they have earned and deserve.
- Launching a special driver’s license for veterans and working to put information about veterans’ benefits in branch offices.
- Partnered on legislation to create the first fundraising license plate to directly benefit Michigan veterans.
- Brought a record-setting ONE MILLION new donors to Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry by changing old thinking and coming up with creative, no-cost ways to promote organ donor signups.
Ruth lives in Holly with her husband, Don Nanney, a small business owner, and their 16-year-old daughter, Emily. As a young woman, Ruth’s family was very loving, but lived below the poverty line after the death of her father. She began working at age 13 to help her family and eventually put herself through Oakland Community College, Oakland University and Wayne State University, where she earned her master’s degree, with honors. She remains a firm believer in hard work and that government should offer a hand-up, NOT a hand-out.
A former Oakland County commissioner, Ruth went on to serve as a state representative, and then as the first woman elected to serve as Oakland County clerk. As a state representative, Ruth helped expose the criminal misuse of tax dollars by public officials on everything from private flying lessons to limousine rides. The resulting investigation led to resignations and jail time for one official. As Oakland County clerk, Ruth won 14 national awards for innovative services that cut costs through technology, increased transparency and helped ensure election integrity.