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I took my 93 year old mother to the DMV today to get a photo ID. She gave up driving a couple of years ago and her DL expired last year, but she continued to skate based on her rebellious notion that while the driving privileges had expired, the rest of the stuff hadn't. It took me a year to get her to give up scheme. Basically, all it would take is one by-the-book petit functionary with no common sense to disapprove her ID and it would almost certainly be at a time she could least afford it, such as changing planes on a multi stop flight at a distant airport where I couldn't help.

It all worked out—in fact, we were probably out of there in forty minutes. See below the spoor de Kos for further discussion and a list of Florida’s (and, I assume, everyone’s) requirements.

Despite the horror stories I’d heard (and we experienced a similar relatively painless renewal about eighteen months ago), we brought the following evidence:

  • Passport
  • Medicare card
  • Phone bill
  • Electric bill (hydro bill for the great white north)
  • Voter registration card
  • her expired DL

Okay, here are some of my thoughts on how ridiculous this process is:

  • absent a birth certificate (and name change documentation from her marriage in 1940) they accepted her passport. The passport was a renewal from her original probably acquired ≈1970—all pre Real ID
  • similarly, they accepted her voter registration card (although as a proof of address), also originated pre Real ID in 1999, but updated several times
  • although I suppose it’s common knowledge that one’s Medicare number is one’s SS number with an alpha character appended, I was surprised that they didn’t choke on that as SS ID
  • if her expired DL played any part in the process, and I believe it did, why in the world was it necessary to jump through so many hoops, especially in light of the passport issue cited above?

Anyway, I’m confident she’ll never have to repeat this, as her new ID (everyone talked her out of a DL) expires in 2021. She’ll be 102. Oh, unlike Pennsylvania, it wasn’t free, either—$25. Whatever you may wish to think of this tale, I can assure you this task we completed today ensures one vote for Obama, one for Nelson, and one for DW-S.

Below is a chart of Florida’s requirements:

Each U.S. citizen renewing or applying for a new driver license or identification card in person after January 1, 2010 must submit:

Primary Identification

An Original or Certified of One of the Following Primary Identification Documents
Certified United States birth certificate, including territories and District of Columbia Born on rural farm 93 years ago. Hasn't seen it since probably 1970.
Valid United States Passport or Passport Card Got it.
Consular Report of Birth Abroad N/A
Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-550 or Form N-570 N/A
Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560 or Form N-561 N/A
Note: When necessary, marriage certificates, court orders, or divorce decrees must be provided to tie the name on the primary identification to the name the customer would like to place on the driver license or identification card.
Proof of Social Security Number
Social Security Card Original issued in the ’30s—used Medicare card
W-2 form retired since 1980
Pay check retirement annuities direct deposited
SSA-1099 filed with taxes…somewhere
Any 1099 op cit
2 Proofs of Residential Address
Gather TWO of the following documents showing your residential address: (internet printouts or faxes of these documents are acceptable)
Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental/lease agreement Owns condo—no mortgage. Maintenance fees automatically deposited to condo
Florida Voter Registration Card Got it!
Florida Vehicle Registration or Title no longer owns car
Florida Boat Registration or Title (if living on a boat/houseboat) N/A
A statement from a parent, step-parent or legal guardian of an applicant. The parent or guardian must reside at the same residence address, accompany the applicant and present "Proof of Residence Address" N/A, but maybe someday…
A utility hook up or work order dated within 60 days of the application has lived in condo since ’99
Automobile Payment Booklet op cit (no car)
Selective Service Card WWII Veteran—not drafted
Medical or health card with address listed N/A
Current homeowner’s insurance policy or bill some file somewhere…
Current automobile insurance policy or bill op cit (no car)
Educational institution transcript forms for the current school year graduated from college in 1954
Unexpired professional license issued by a government agency in the U.S. retired since 1980
W-2 form or 1099 form op cit
Form DS2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status N/A
A letter from a homeless shelter, transitional service provider, or a half-way house verifying that the customer resides at the shelter address ha, ha (but not at any homeless)
Utility bills, not more than two months old Ma Bell comes through! And FPL!
Mail from financial institutions; including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than two months old used utility bills above
Mail from Federal, State, County or City government agencies (including city and county agencies) proved unnecessary
Transients or Sexual Offender/Predator/Career Offender: – FDLE Registration form completed by local sheriff’s department ha, ha
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