CHICAGO — When he took over for the retiring Jesse White, Alexi Giannoulias promised to bring sweeping changes and modernization to the office.  

For people like Sandy, who did not wish to give her last name when speaking with WGN News outside the Secretary of State-Chicago facility at Elston Avenue, it was an all-thumbs-up experience. 

“Getting a sticker for my car and my son’s car but I’m too early and they helped me with everything I needed and did it all for me while I sat in a chair,” she said.  

But for others not so much, like Helen McQuaid, who needed to take a field driver’s test when she renewed her driver’s license. 

Until this year, she could drive to her hometown of Naperville Secretary of State facility and take the test. But now, an appointment is required. McQuaid said she tried unsuccessfully for weeks to get an appointment to no avail. Locations that still accept walk-in services, in Bridgeview and Evanston, are simply too far, she added.

The next best option is Aurora but as McQuaid explained, the drive is out of her comfort zone.

“Very frustrating,” McQuaid said.  

On the WGN Midday news Monday, Giannoulias said they’ve come a long way but hearing of Helen’s plight, more is needed. 

“We did open for the first time in history two senior-only DMVs and in about a month, we served over 6,500 seniors. Our goal is to open a few more,” he said. “We think will help people like Helen who haven’t been able to schedule an appointment.” 

Giannoulias said the state did standardize the hours for all locations and more than two dozen departments within the SOS office have seen significant changes. More changes, however, are forthcoming, Giannoulias added.