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Erie County Clerk issues warning, Says DMV ID requirements unclear

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Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns does not think the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) adequately informed the public of documentation requirements for applying for Enhanced Driver License IDs.

Kearns said a renewal letter sent out by the state left out the crucial detail that after a name has been changed, proper documentation, like a marriage certificate or divorce document, is needed.

“They failed to make that requirement known to them… and they get incredibly frustrated,” Kearns said. “They come to the Auto Bureau with all the documents listed and the state’s new renewal notification. We have to turn them away because we can’t complete the transaction without those proper documents.”

For Kearns, an ideal solution would be for the DMV to inform the public of the proper documents and to clear confusion.

“However they do it, whether it’s through a public service announcement or whether it’s through direct contact via mail to those people, they need to correct the error that they made,” Kearns said.

At a Tuesday press conference, Kearns called on the DMV commissioner to find a solution for the situation, and has posted signs at all DMV bureaus operated by his office.

In a written statement, Assistant Commissioner of Communications Lisa Koumjian said the State DMV “has been fully compliant with all Federal REAL ID Act requirements and its outreach to customers has served as a model for other states.”

The Federal Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued licenses, permits, and IDs.

Koumjian said Kearns has not notified the DMV of any concerns regarding notice to customers.

“DMV was available at a session, which Kearns did not attend, at the Annual County Clerks Conference this month to answer questions and address concerns. And DMV has hosted multiple informational calls and provided written communication to all County Clerks to walk them through the guidance for the Federal REAL ID Act,” said Koumjian.

Koumjian also noted that the DMV website and social media provides detailed information about available ID services so that customers have the documents they need before visiting a local office, and promotes it in mail inserts sent to customers renewing IDs.