Quick rant on state-issued IDs

Just in case I forgot how easily and subtly the deck can be stacked against certain groups of people, I had to go to the DMV to get my license renewed recently.  It was fairly slow in there, so I was chatting with the nice woman who was processing my paperwork and learned some interesting things.

Apparently you’re supposed to have your driver’s license or ID renewed any time you move.  I knew that you were supposed to, but I’d never personally done that before.  That’s $15.75 (currently) every time you move.  I’ve lived in 9 different places since moving to Minneapolis, so technically I should be out at least $140, not even counting the cost to renew an expiring license, which is $26.25.

So I asked the clerk if anyone actually did that, and she said people do it all the time.  I was skeptical, so I asked her why – pretty sure none of my friends bothered to go to the DMV every time they moved.  As it turns out, if you’re stopped by a police officer and give an ID that lists an incorrect address (more than 30 days after you’ve moved), you can be fined $200.  (So the correct answer to the officer is always “I *just* moved last week”)

If I were some Republican strategist making this an issue, I’d call it a Moving Tax.  Couldn’t make your rent and had to move back in with your parents? That’ll be $15, please.  Finally got a job and moved out of a homeless shelter and into your first apartment?  That’ll cost you another $15.

On a side note, while I was at the counter another man (likely homeless and perhaps mentally ill) needed a new ID issued.  He didn’t have the $15 to pay for it, so was instructed to wait until Friday and to go to 17th and Chicago to get a voucher (apparently Friday is ID voucher day at Catholic Charities).  This guy had trouble moving from his seat to the counter.  I couldn’t imagine him spending the better part of his Friday getting to 17th and Chicago, then waiting to get a voucher, then traveling back across town to the Government Center, so I paid for him.  I didn’t stick around to see what he listed on the address line.

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