I have a theory as to why only 20 percent of Mainers are opting for the Real ID (“Snags follow new licenses labeled as ‘Not valid for Real ID,’ ” Aug. 16, Page A1).

I just had my license renewed. After I waited 90 minutes and heard my number called, I went up to the window with my proof of residency, etc., as required for this new license.

When I left the building, after I paid my $30 and had my new photo taken, etc., I realized that the clerk never looked at the materials I set before her. Oh well, I figured. She probably had everything she needed from looking at my old license.

My new license came in the mail this week with “Not valid for Real ID purposes” printed on it. When I called to ask why not, I learned that I must request the Real ID at the window because I won’t get it otherwise. I explained that I thought everyone was getting a Real ID going forward, that it was a government mandate. I also told her that I had all my materials prominently displayed for the clerk at the window, and it’s too bad she didn’t ask me if these extra materials indicated I wanted a Real ID.

Now I need to go back in just several months’ time to pay $55 extra for the Real ID. After reading that only 20 percent are getting this license, I suspect it’s because most of us don’t know we have to request it, that it’s not an automatic thing.

Imagine how long the wait will be next year, when people like me who didn’t speak up at the window now go back for the Real ID upgrade long before our licenses need renewals. Imagine how quickly that extra $55 per person accumulates for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when up to 80 percent of us are making the wrong assumption.

Margaret Wilson

Cumberland


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