Del. Ken Plum: Who Are You?

by Del. Ken Plum October 4, 2018 at 10:15 am 6 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Beginning on October 1, Virginians will be able to obtain through the local offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles a REAL ID that complies with federal regulations to prove their identity. While having state-issued, federally-approved identification to prove who you are is offensive to many, the practical use of the REAL ID will result in most if not all complying with its requirements.

The REAL ID came about from recommendations of the 9/11 Commission studying ways to improve security to prevent other horrible terrorist acts from happening. Half of the September 11 hijackers had received driver’s licenses in Virginia. Congress passed an act to help prevent terrorist attacks and to reduce the number of licenses issued to undocumented residents. It established the requirements for states to follow in issuing driver’s licenses, and the program is implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. Under the congressionally passed law, states are required to issue licenses only to applicants who provide in-person proof of their identity and legal U.S. residency. The new cards must use the latest counterfeit-resistant security features.

Half the states are now in compliance with the new federal law, and others like Virginia have been working hard to put the new system into place. Beginning in the fall of 2020, persons who want to board a commercial flight must present a REAL ID or an alternative form of acceptable identification. Likewise, persons entering federal facilities must present a REAL ID. The DMV-issued credential will meet the requirement of REAL ID and will allow holders to access federal buildings, including military installations, and board commercial flights.

Obtaining a REAL ID when you renew your driver’s license is voluntary. That is what I intend to do. I do not want to have to remember to make a special trip to the DMV in the future to prove my identity for a REAL ID when I can do it as part of renewing my driver’s license.

To get a REAL ID you must apply in person and provide DMV with physical documentation of identity, such as an unexpired U.S. passport or a U.S. birth certificate and provide your legal presence through the same documentation. And yes, there is an additional one-time fee of $10 to help pay for the new cards. Hopefully you can visit a DMV office when they are not too busy. But you do need to go in person and take the time to meet the requirements.

Important news for those who do not drive and hence do not have a driver’s license: You can get a REAL ID through the same process just described to use for entering federal facilities, boarding commercial flights and voting.

Need more information? The DMV website is filled with full details. Check my interview with Commissioner Rick Holcomb of the DMV on YouTube after October 10 or watch it on Reston Comcast Channel 28 for public service programming or Verizon Channel 1981 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23 or at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24.

File photo

  • Thanks Ken

    This is good info.

  • 30yearsinreston

    I am shocked, shocked, that Ken has written an article which is NOT laying a guilt trip on citizens
    I wonder if we can look forward to an update on his discussions with VDOT

  • vdiv

    It was a royal pain. It took over two and a half hours including the wait to get a number and the wait to be called. Then it took a long time to scan the passport and enter all of the personal info, including scanning my mortgage statement and power bill, eye test, taking a new picture, asking if I want my voting registration updated, if I still want to be an organ donor, etc. etc. At the end they voided my still valid driver’s license by punching VOID letters through it and gave me a temporary flyaway driving permit paper. It’ll take 7 to 10 business days to get the actual ID in the mail if it doesn’t get lost. Not fun.

    Ihre Papiere bitte!

  • KennyP

    “While having state-issued, federally-approved identification to prove who you are is offensive to many,”
    Citation needed there Kenny.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Now, if only the Commonwealth could impose the same standards for anyone applying to any of our assistance programs, especially WIC, Medicaid and Housing Assistance.


    Here is a better article explaining REAL ID (a Federal Law passed in 2005), with out all of Ken’s biased nonsense. Enjoy!



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