Insight by Kodak Alaris

How motor vehicle bureaus are meeting the REAL ID challenge

The REAL ID program, which has its roots in a law passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, fundamentally seeks to ensure the reliability of a state driver’s license when presented as a form of identification. It’s not academic. Without a REAL ID designation, a license eventually will not be accepted by federal agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration.

Though many years in execution, the program still has a ways to go. The latest statutory extension for states to issue REAL ID licenses now is October 21st of this year. That’s when the Homeland Security Department says it will start full enforcement.

Yet many states are far behind, because issuing a REAL ID-compliant license requires the driver to present a raft of paper documents in person to local vehicle registration offices. The pandemic, which has limited public access to state (and federal) offices tossed in a last-minute roadblock.

Those that are on top, and those with a clear strategy for making the deadline despite the setback of the pandemic, back that strategy with a solid technology and workflow plan. The bonus is, the plan is adaptable to many other governmental processes in which require paper processing. Even in the digital age, such processes still exist.

REAL ID is frankly complicated. As noted, people need to bring in birth certificates, Social Security cards, utility invoices and other records. The records must be safely scanned and returned in good condition to the owner. Registry or DMV staff must verify with the documents’ originators that the documents are authentic.

In Ohio, according to Charles Norman, the state’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the REAL ID adoption rate is about 45%, and it slipped a bit because of the pandemic. Ohio is among the more technologically adept states, and Charles Norman, the state’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles says more people are not only aware of the REAL ID requirement but are actively seeking a compliant license.

Kyle Cotner, the public sector business development lead at Kodak Alaris, says the paperwork bottleneck at the point where citizen and motor vehicle registration employee meet is solvable. It requires a scanning capability that is fast and flexible enough to handle documents of all sizes, materials, and conditions. And also with enough intelligence to work in a larger IT workflow that encompasses the multi-organization verification check, and the motor vehicle bureau’s own processes that result in the issuance of a compliant license.

The Current Status of REAL ID

The differences between Real ID and say the traditional identification process starts with the requirements in terms of the original documentation. Frontline clerks are having to review birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, and verify that they're legitimate credentials.

Successful Workflows

We're constantly trying to balance that desire to achieve efficiency with the need to achieve security as well. And making sure those documents are authentic, and are real, and the person is who they say they are. That's our challenge every day, and we're getting better.

Statewide Applicability of Processes

Waiting in line – it’s not obviously the fault of the workers processing these documents. It's just they have the existing technology that they've used. And sadly, it just cannot keep up with the workload coming in.

Listen to the full show:

Panel of experts

  • Michael Leahy

    Secretary of Information Technology, State of Maryland

  • Ian Grossman

    Vice President of Member Services and Public Affairs, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators

  • Charles Norman

    Registrar of Motor Vehicles, State of Ohio

  • Kyle Cotner

    Public Sector Business Development Manager, Kodak Alaris

  • Tom Temin

    Host of the Federal Drive, Federal News Network

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