Local News

40,000 Vermonters opt for driver privilege cards over REAL ID licenses

By Elizabeth Hewitt, VTDigger.org

Driver privilege cards, the form of identification intended to extend driving rights to migrant workers, have been issued to more than 40,000 Vermonters—considerably more than the state’s estimated 1,500 migrant population the cards were designed to serve.

About one in five Vermonters who have gotten or renewed driver’s licenses since January 2014 have opted for the privilege card.

To obtain a REAL ID, which is part of an effort to set nationwide regulations to improve the reliability of state-issued identification, applicants need to give the Department of Motor Vehicles a specific set of documents, including a passport or birth certificate, a Social Security card and two documents with a Vermont address.

Privilege cards require a lower threshold of identification, and thus have become the fallback option when Vermonters show up at the DMV without proper documentation for a REAL ID driver’s license.

Allen Gilbert of the American Civil Liberties Union said his office often fields calls from Vermonters confused about the difference between the forms of identification. Many people, he said, are not aware that they have a choice between the two DMV documents.

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