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Officials raising awareness of changes requiring REAL ID

As of October 2020, New York State residents will not be able to fly domestically without proper documentation, nor will they be able to enter certain federal facilities. That documentation will require enhancing your driver’s license or obtaining a REAL ID. The Erie and Niagara County Clerk offices are teaming up with the NFTA and TSA for a 500 day awareness campaign.

“It’s very important for people to understand when they come to the airport without proper identification that it could cost screening and the process of screening to be a lot longer for you,” said TSA Customer Support Manager Brett O’Neil. “We’re hoping that the fact that we don’t have numerous types of identification coming through the checkpoint which takes time to verify, because every ID is verified.”

The REAL ID Act was put into law in 2005 as a security measure in the wake of 9/11.

“To me, you can never be too safe,” said Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns. “This is a security measure. We may not see it but there is stuff behind the scenes that’s really important in keeping us safe.”

More than 200,000 driver’s licenses are expected to expire before the October deadline. Kearns says his office is reaching out to libraries, senior and community centers, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and private businesses to get the word out.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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