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Our opinion: A real date for REAL ID, please

Earlier this week, a press release was sent out by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announcing a new pre-verification tool that will help people get their REAL ID faster.

We find the use of the word “faster” to be relative as this has been an ongoing process now for a good many years, not just here in the state, but at the Federal level when this all started in 2005 after Congress passed the REAL ID Act. Minnesotans, and the rest of the nation, now have until May 3, 2023 to get a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license which is yet another moving of the goalposts. Initially, the deadline line was Oct. 1 of this year.

This whole switch to a new ID,  which will be required to board an airplane or when entering federal buildings, is a prime example of something that is becoming a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

It seems like every other month we are getting a new release announcing some sort of change that once again dumps more time on a process and adding further confusion to the process.

And the process itself isn’t a difficult one. Simply apply for one when you renew your driver’s license, but the longer this gets shelved the more people will start questioning if this is really necessary. It’s easy to see why people might consider whether it’s really necessary with each kicking of the can down the road, which could create a whole new nest of headaches when it’s time to travel.

Yes, the pandemic helped by putting a wrench into things. That is the reason the federal government extended this deadline and we fully recognize this, but it can’t solely be blamed for the log jam, it’s just the latest reason and good example of how quickly things can pile up.

Our advice: Set a date and stick with it. This is something that we shouldn’t need to worry about among all the other things in our life. We can applaud making it easier with this new online tool and appreciate what the State of Minnesota is trying to do on a state level, but in the end there just needs to be a clear route to getting this done.