MVD at fault for Real ID confusion

Here’s a guess that the folks who run the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division are not Black Friday shoppers. They are the folks who scramble on Christmas Eve to find the gifts they need.

That procrastination on the part of MVD is the reason far too many New Mexicans are going into the holidays scrambling to comply with the new Real-ID license and ID law.

Real ID was passed by Congress in 2005 after 18 of 19 terrorists used state-issued driver’s licenses to board planes and then crash them into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and, thwarted by heroic passengers, a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

After numerous delays, the federal law took effect this year, and the New Mexico Legislature passed, and the governor signed, legislation to put the state into compliance by requiring certain documents for new or renewed licenses and IDs.

N.M. Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla, who oversees MVD, says her agency had radio spots and sent out news releases in English and Spanish in July and August about the changes, which kicked in last week.

That message “got drowned out by politics,” she says.

And now MVD, like the gas-station holiday shopper, is drowning in criticism. Because just as not everyone likes gas-station gifts, not everyone listens to the radio at the precise time the Tax & Rev secretary calls in.

People read newspapers. They watch television. They use social media. They drive past billboards. And all of these folks would have benefited from the simple message that when they go in to get a new license or renew their current one, things have changed and they need to bring their Social Security card, birth certificate, and two bank/utility statements that show their residential address.

There are some other acceptable documents, but those are the most common types accepted under the new system.

Padilla clearly thought the Real ID changes were significant and complex. She required all MVD staff, managers and partners to attend at least two days of in-class training, and she handed out revised manuals and accepted document lists.

Those lists, which MVD finally linked to from its homepage on Nov. 16 — after it had started issuing licenses — cover the four types of IDs the department now issues and the three categories of ID required to get them.

It’s all important information, and compliance is required by state and federal law.

Getting at least the basics of the new requirements out to the public as soon as possible after Gov. Susana Martinez signed the enabling legislation in March could have, would have, should have prevented much of the confusion and avoided multiple trips to the MVD New Mexicans are now experiencing.

— Albuquerque Journal