ID Victory

Last Thursday, I opened my mailbox to find a little surprise that would change my life in a big way: My driver license! It finally came!

Over the past two weeks I had visited the Department of Motor Vehicles twice in order to acquire the plastic card. My visits (chronicled here and here) were prompted by the Department of Revenue’s ever-changing regulations. In recent years, the Department shuffled the list of IDs it accepted to issue licenses, leaving the homeless, ex-cons, the elderly, and average Janes and Joes like yours truly, unable to access Colorado cards.

Last year, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless sued the Department of Revenue for its lack of public process in deciding new regulations. Then, Governor Ritter quashed a bill that would have expanded the list of acceptable IDs, saying he’d make changes without legislation. I visited the DMV on the cusp of the new regs to see what all the hubbub was about. Plus, I needed a new ID myself since I should have switched out my Utah license, oh, a year ago.

On my first visit, I was turned away empty handed after a three hour wait. Turns out my Utah license and Social Security card couldn’t adequately prove my “lawful presence” in the state of Colorado. But on my second visit, after the new regs took effect, those two IDs did just the trick. The DMV clerk punched a hole in my Utah license and handed me a temporary paper ID, with the promise that I’d receive my Colorado license in a month’s time. Lucky me, it came only a week later. Perhaps it’s a sign that things are going a little more smoothly at the Department.

The perks of having a new Colorado license are vast. My Utah license, a flimsy piece of paper laminated in plastic, periodically tripped up bartenders and bouncers who were convinced it was fake (“Do they make these anymore?” they would ask). The big fat “Under 21” insignia in the right-hand corner baffled them even more, and I found myself pointing determinedly at my birth date and the renewal sticker on the back. Now, with my new Colorado ID, I don’t even get carded. But I’m so proud I show it to them anyway.

-- Naomi Zeveloff

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