Ever since she was born 70 years ago in New York, Alice Edelman never had any trouble proving that she is who she says she is.
Until she received a notice from Florida's Department of Motor Vehicles to renew her driver's license in person. To comply with the state's strict identity requirements, she recently had to rummage deep into her remote past to find a pile of documents — her original birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage certificate, and so forth.
When she arrived at the DMV office in Plantation, she was also asked to present proof of her physical residence address. "My driver's license proves it," she told them. No, they wanted either a utility bill bearing her name and address, a mortgage statement, tax forms or a deed. She didn't have them. In fact, those bills come in her husband's name. She left the DMV empty-handed.
"They made me feel as if I were guilty of something and had to prove my innocence," said Edelman, who moved to Florida in 1970 and is considered by the state a safe driver. "The government always looks for creative ways to make our lives even more complicated."
Since early this year, based on national-security concerns, Florida has implemented a cumbersome process to obtain and renew a driver's license or state ID card. This is driving law-abiding U.S.-born and naturalized citizens nuts, as well as legal immigrants.
The DMV states on its website that "the changes strengthen our ability to verify an applicant's identity and legal presence as we continue to protect our citizens and visitors while improving domestic security."