I-Team Report: The real reason for Real ID

Source: Secretary of State

Sharol Burd thought she knew how to renew her driver’s license.

But she got thrown a curveball when she went to the clerk’s window.

In August of 2017, Michigan began implementing what is being called the new Real ID system.

It’s a federal mandate that every state is putting in place.

“I just figured TV5 would like to know, and maybe they can start talking more about the enhanced, Real ID license, so people can be prepared.”

It may sound like a hassle, but getting a small star at the top of your license requires more paperwork.

“Like 3 ½ hours, by the time I made trips home and to the bank and back. I was there to see them three times.”

An embossed birth certificate, proof it you have changed your name, a valid passport, or other approved citizenship documents. That’s where Sharol ran into some trouble.

“I have my current marriage license, and I have my divorce decree, but I didn’t have my first marriage license.”

Sharol was divorced decades ago and has been remarried for nearly 40-years.

But she didn’t have proof of her first name change, all she had was a passport, but it had expired.

“The paperwork said that you couldn’t use an expired passport. And so, when I was talking to the gal, she says, we just got a memo last week and I think you can bring your expired passport in. And if your name goes through the system then we’ll be able to renew it.”

As of Oct. 1, 2020, you won’t be able to board a plane, even just to travel within Michigan, unless you comply with the Real ID law.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson had this to say.

“People remember the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and also the other plane crash. The people that perpetrated that crime had driver’s licenses, but they were in essence not legal. So we’re making sure because of the federal government’s requirement, that people have the right kind of identification to be able to board a plane.”

Around the nation Secretaries of State are required to implement the new law. Here, Ruth Johnson said it may be complicated, but it’s also fully necessary.

“I think it’s been a little bit confusing for people. So, we’ve tried to take a strong role in that. I don’t think the federal government made it real clear.”

The TV5 I-Team told her about Sharol’s scenario. Where she didn’t have her old marriage certificate from the original marriage, but they did accept an expired passport, although it’s not clear how long that will work.

“They can call our office in Lansing. We do have a couple troubleshooters there that will help. Believe it or not, we have a few people that are of a certain age that they don’t even have birth certificates. Over 100 is common. So, we do have specialists that can help with that,” Johnson told TV5.

Johnson said the paperwork is important.

“When people come in, they have to bring their court documents. That’s done at a county building. We’re Secretary of State/DMV, so they will have to bring those documents.”

Norman Zeilinger just finished applying for his Real ID.

“Actually, I was in Caro yesterday trying to renew my license and they told me that this new Real ID program is in effect, and I should have my birth certificate.”

He feels good about the changes.

“I’m thinking it has something to do with security in our country, and people are gonna have to present a license in some way, shape, or form.”

Right now, the biggest goal is getting the word out.

“We’ve already shot the PSA, and we’ll be getting it out. We send out lots of info to the media, whether it be electronic radio, TV, you name it,” Johnson said.

If you are not due to renew your license before October of 2020, you still have to go to a Secretary of State Office to get a Real ID before that time.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.