Real ID not so real

Thu Nov 1, 2018

My driver’s license is expiring in a few weeks, so it was time to renew. And of course, there’s a new kind of license called “Real ID”, which is the only kind of driver’s license that will let you fly (if you’re not using a passport as identification). Part of the process is to prove lawful presence. My passport did that. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles computer system correctly noted that my name on the passport doesn’t match what they put on my old license: no hyphens or spaces. So, it stands to reason that my new license would correctly reflect my real name, right? But no, they still can’t handle my name.

So, my passport has my name correctly but my new super-secure “Real ID” will not. This may be fun at the airport. This may also be a headache should Massachusetts ever decide to implement the Republican voter suppression efforts. One of their tactics are “exact match” requirements, as discussed by Mark Libermann on Language Log.