Terrorism Law Takes Married Women’s Drivers Licenses
Women in the state of Georgia have been losing their drivers licenses after getting married or divorced and changing their names, owing to problems complying with the federal Real ID Act. Essentially, the law requires that names on drivers’ licenses match those on Social Security cards and many women are changing their name on one but not the other and getting caught in administrative snafus. The AJC report has no data quantifying the problem, other than to say that, “Two years ago, Driver Services officials said they were sending out as many as 5,000 warning letters a week.” How many of those resulted in cancellations, though, is not reported.
What’s interesting to me is that, well into the computer age, we’re still having trouble syncing up databases for such routine matters. There’s simply no reason that things like name and address changes shouldn’t be able to be made at a central location, with appropriate security measures implemented, and then instantly proliferated throughout the system.
My wife and I got married just shy of two years ago and there are still places where she’s registered under her maiden name. Every credit card company, bank, and state, local, and federal agency requires original copies of the marriage certificate and the filling out of various forms in order to affect the change. It’s simply ridiculous.
(And, yes, women keeping their names would be a simpler solution to the problem. There are, however, all manner of practical and cultural barriers to that.)
UPDATE: Steven Taylor estimates that “most of these policies have done a far better job of making it more difficult for everyday Americans to pursue their lives than they have in stopping terrorists in pursuing theirs…”