One woman’s story of get­ting the REAL ID

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Glenn Grif­fith ggrif­[email protected]­ @cn­weekly on Twit­ter

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> On Oct. 1, New York State res­i­dents will join the rest of the coun­try and be re­quired to com­ply with the fed­eral REAL ID Act. The Act was passed by Congress in 2005 in the wake of 9/11.

It es­tab­lishes min­i­mum se­cu­rity stan­dards for state-is­sued driver li­censes, per­mits and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards. It also pro­hibits fed­eral agen­cies, like the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion (TSA), from ac­cept­ing cards for of­fi­cial pur­poses from states that do not meet th­ese stan­dards.

Prov­ing one’s iden­tity is a manda­tory re­quire­ment.

For many states the law went into ef­fect Jan. 22, 2018. How­ever, 17 states were granted an ex­ten­sion in Oc­to­ber 2017. Six oth­ers were clas­si­fied as “still un­der re­view” at the time. New York State was one of the lat­ter.

All states are re­quired to be com­pli­ant by Oct. 1 of this year.

One of the steps to get the REAL ID for mar­ried women who took their hus­band’s names re­quires they pro­vide doc­u­men­ta­tion to prove their iden­tity prior to the name change.

If the ap­pli­cant’s cur­rent last name doesn’t match the doc­u­ments be­ing sub­mit­ted they must pro­vide doc­u­men­ta­tion link­ing all le­gal name changes. Doc­u­ments must be orig­i­nal or cer­ti­fied by the is­su­ing agency.

One lo­cal woman’s story in this re­gard is a mes­sage to oth­ers. In Oc­to­ber she reached out to this news­pa­per for help in ob­tain­ing the REAL ID af­ter mak­ing sev­eral trips to the lo­cal DMV of­fice in Septem­ber and get­ting no re­sults. Her story fol­lows.

She has re­quested last name not be used.

Brenda, 70, and a na­tive New Yorker, has been mar­ried to the same man for 50 years. She moved back to New York af­ter 45 years liv­ing in Rhode Is­land and needed to change her driver’s li­cense and car reg­is­tra­tion. She changed her car in­sur­ance to New York, gath­ered her So­cial Se­cu­rity card, birth cer­tifi­cate, mar­riage cer­tifi­cate, and proof of ad­dress and went to the DMV of­fice.

When she was called up her to the counter she was told her mar­riage li­cense was not ac­cepted in New York State.

Brenda went back home found an­other copy of her mar­riage cer­tifi­cate and went back to DMV. She was later told that Al­bany had re­jected the sec­ond ef­fort be­cause the cer­tifi­cate was not ac­cept­able. It was a sim­ple pho­to­copy and not cer­ti­fied.

She phoned her hus­band, who is still liv­ing in Rhode Is­land, and he found the orig­i­nal mar­riage li­cense which he mailed her. DMV of­fi­cials then told Brenda it was not ac­cept­able be­cause the cou­ple had been mar­ried by a cler­gy­man.

“This is ridicu­lous,” Brenda said in an email to the news­pa­per. “I don’t need to prove I am a mar­ried woman. I just need to get my plates and li­cense changed. I don’t need a li­cense to travel out of the U.S. but I do need to fly to see my chil­dren in dif­fer­ent states. “Now I can’t do any of it.” Brenda noted her dis­ap­pointed with the state say­ing she was born here and got her first driver’s li­cense here and lived in the state un­til 1976.

“I was mar­ried in Philadel­phia, PA in 1969. Please help me, I don’t know where to turn,” she wrote.

To get things mov­ing Brenda sent two checks to Penn­syl­va­nia for court records and was told it might take six to eight weeks to hear back. In the mean­time her Rhode Is­land car in­spec­tion sticker ex­pired and she was un­able to get the car in­spected in New York with out-of-state plates.

“I al­ready got New York car in­sur­ance but now ev­ery­thing is on hold. If you have a pass­port, you’re golden. Un­for­tu­nately I don’t have one,” she wrote.

Shortly there­after she re­ceived a No­tice of Ac­tion from the DMV in Rhode Is­land be­cause her in­spec­tion sticker had ex­pired.

Af­ter this news­pa­per con­tacted the Saratoga County DMV on Benda’s be­half she was con­tacted by the su­per­vi­sor of the Clifton Park of­fice who helped her through

the process.

In the su­per­vi­sor’s ini­tial in­tro­duc­tory email Brenda was told a mar­riage cer­tifi­cate would be re­quired if her cur­rent name and her maiden name dif­fered due to mar­riage, di­vorce, or court or­dered name changes.

She was told the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will not al­low any New York State DMV is­su­ing of­fice to ac­cept any church mar­riage cer­tifi­cates be­cause the only mar­riage cer­tifi­cates al­lowed are ones that have been is­sued from a town or city hall.

The email also con­tained help­ful tips on how to speed things along to reg­is­ter Brenda’s auto.

Af­ter meet­ing with the su­per­vi­sor in per­son to try and get her plates and reg­is­tra­tion Brenda emailed the su­per­vi­sor thank­ing her for the meet­ing. She told the su­per­vi­sor she had con­tacted the bank with which she has her car loan seek­ing a cer­ti­fied copy of the ti­tle. Be­cause it was cer­ti­fied it could only be mailed di­rectly to Brenda, how­ever, a copy was to be faxed to the Clifton Park DMV to help things along.

The cer­ti­fied copy was to be mailed three days later.

Ten days later Brenda wrote the DMV su­per­vi­sor that her mar­riage cer­tifi­cate had been lo­cated in Nor­ris­town, PA. In a re­ply, the su­per­vi­sor ad­vised Brenda that a copy of the car ti­tle had ar­rived in the DMV of­fice from the bank and Brenda could come in with all her com­pleted forms and “points of iden­ti­fi­ca­tions” that she had pre­sented pre­vi­ously and the of­fice could get her car reg­is­tered.

Be­fore she was able to get to the DMV of­fice to reg­is­ter the car Brenda re­ceived a cer­ti­fied copy of her mar­riage cer­tifi­cate from Penn­syl­va­nia. She de­cided to try and get the REAL ID, the plates and the reg­is­tra­tion on the same day. By this time Brenda had made six trips to DMV of­fices.

In a copy of an email sent to the DMV su­per­vi­sor on the day she was to try and com­plete her tasks Brenda said she was ner­vous.

Later that day Brenda wrote this news­pa­per say­ing she had the driver’s li­cense, the plates and reg­is­tra­tion. She thanked the DMV su­per­vi­sor for the per­sonal help and the news­pa­per.

In dis­cussing Brenda’s story with re­cently re­tired Clifton Park Town Clerk Pat O’Don­nell, O’Don­nell said she un­der­stood Brenda’s plight well. O’Don­nell she too had to prove her iden­tity prior to her mar­riage in or­der to get her REAL ID.

To do it O’Don­nell said she got a cer­ti­fied copy of her mar­riage cer­tifi­cate where it had been filed, in White Plains, N.Y. It cost her $10.

To show how mar­riage cer­tifi­cate fil­ings used to be done in the pre-com­puter age, on one of her last days in of­fice O’Don­nell pulled out a large, re-bound book from the town vaults with mar­riage fil­ings in the town for the years 1964 to1974. Each page con­tains three of­fi­cial mar­riage fil­ings.

“It’s hard for a woman to get the new driver’s li­cense,” O’Don­nell said mat­ter-of-factly.


Clifton Park Town Clerk Pat O’Don­nell holds a book of hand writ­ten mar­riage reg­is­tra­tions for the years 1964-1974 that is kept in the town hall vault

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