The Real "Real ID" Cost

A study was released that shows the real cost of the “Real ID.” According to the study, the legislation will cost $11 billion to implement. As the press release accompanying the report states:

The federal Real ID act creates national standards for issuing state drivers licenses and identification cards. Among the costly requirements necessary for implementation of the law, states will likely be required to: re-issue drivers licenses and identification cards to all 245 million current holders within five years; establish on-site identification verification procedures at the source of issuance; and meet specific security and production requirements for the new card. Detailed data provided by the 47 jurisdictions that responded to the survey indicates that among the cost of the changes to the driver’s licensing process are a one-time calculable expense of nearly $1 billion and ongoing costs of more than $10.1 billion for the first five-year enrollment period.

The report also suggests additional costs, such as the added time and effort citizens will spend to comply with the state motor vehicle department. Anticipating three to four identity documents per applicant, with more than 80 million transactions performed annually, applicant processing time will more than double for citizens in most states, with waits in some areas increasing by up to 200 percent. Several provisions under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security were not addressed by the survey and could potentially further impact citizens and DMVs and add significantly to the costs described above.

The implications for such IDs on voting have been blogged about quite a bit recently, but consider this analysis from Newsweek:

The biggest cost, about $8.5 billion, would come in re-enrolling the 245 million people who already have driver’s licenses and identification cards, the survey found. Those people would have to show documents like birth certificates and Social Security cards at motor vehicle offices.

“If you can’t find those documents, you might find yourself walking instead of driving,” Tom Wolfsohn, chief policy officer for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, said Thursday.

Not only may you not be able to vote when you get to the polls, you may not even be able to get there without thumbing a ride!