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Editorial: Elderly ID

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The plight of Emogene Whitted of Columbia, Mo., is one that has become all too familiar to elderly Missourians who want to renew their driver's licenses and now have to prove their identity under a new state law aimed at improving homeland security and thwarting identity theft.

Whitted is in her 80s and was born in a log cabin. The only record of her birth, a makeshift birth certificate made out by her father, was lost in a 1940s courthouse fire. As a result, it took Whitted several weeks to satisfy state officials and receive her new license.

Moral of the story?

If you are one of those Missourians without a birth certificate and other documentation needed for driver's license renewals, start early. Don't go to the license office thinking an exception will be made in your case. If you don't have a birth certificate, other documents such as a Social Security card, an insurance policy, a marriage license and birth certificates for children will be needed. These items often take time to collect, so start well in advance of your driver's license expiration.

The items you will need will be listed when you receive your renewal notice. If you don't have those items, call the license office and find out what other documentation you will need.

While the paperwork is a hassle for some elderly Missourians, there are ways to overcome the bureaucracy. Meanwhile, legislators might want to give some thought to making an exception for residents born before a certain year, say 1930, on the grounds they don't fit the profile for terrorists.


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