Today, August 17, 2015, I ended my 3 1/2 year “protest” of RealID compliance with state issued drivers licenses. I had let my drivers license expire over three years ago and purposefully did not renew it as I feel the state is complicit with the federal government in violating our U.S. Constitution. This morning I begrudgingly gave up my 4th and 5th Amendment rights in exchange for the government not locking me up in a cage for years so I could travel on the roadways in America. Doing so was not an endorsement, but an act of choosing one’s battles. Although there are many intricate arguments one can make regarding the differences between traveling and driving, I will leave that to others. I have always been somewhat willing to have a driver’s license; however, like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I have not complied with Real ID until today. I do feel the process of driver’s licensing and vehicle registration could be managed much more efficiently.
While many states continue the fight, Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature folded years ago, immediately in complying with the federal law. The compliance deadline continues to be extended which is now at the year 2020 as other state governments valiantly continue their non-compliance. Are you Real ID’d? Like the Jewish population in Nazi Germany, your license is Real ID compliant if it has a gold star in the upper right corner.
For those unaware, Real ID is a federal law that, under the guise of fighting terrorism and illegal immigration, came about in 2005 where biometric and other data would be collected and stored. The cameras now used in Florida drivers license bureaus are highly technical facial recognition cameras which are as accurate as a fingerprint.
Some states have instituted a fairer program that allows their citizens to have a Real ID compliant driver’s license or one that is not Real ID compliant. For example, Nevada does it right, allowing its citizens to choose whether to get Real ID compliant license or a standard license. Floridians should have that same option. Four states (Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York) as well as American Samoa are, so far, not complying with Real ID. Most, if not all Libertarians would agree that states should reject Real ID compliance.
If by 2020, one does not have Real ID compliant identification (passport or drivers license), then that individual will not be able to board an FAA controlled flight (commercial air travel) or enter a U.S. federal building. Though I think the federal government may make an exception if you are forced to testify via supoena or are forced to stand trial in a federal case.
On the positive side, they didn’t charge me a late fee and the lady that helped me was incredibly nice.