Florida supposedly makes it easy to renew my driver's license. I can renew in person (cost $54.25), online (cost $50.00) or by mail (cost $48.00 plus one stamp). You read that right—it's cheapest to renew by mail, and they charge extra for online renewal, which ought to be easiest and cheapest. No problem. We need to write a check now and then to keep in practice.

The DMV kindly mails me a reminder letter, well before the expiration date, letting me know that my license is expiring but that I don't have to worry bout REAL ID compliance because I already am. They give me my renewal options (see above), and a place where I can change my address. Perfect.

But then they include a whole page about REAL ID compliance, which they have just stated is unnecessary. And a third of a page where I can check off any of 20 charities to which I can contribute the whopping sum of $1 if I increase my payment by the same amount. REALLY? On my driver's license renewal? Since when is the DMV in the business of distributing charitable contributions? And what makes them believe I think any one of their 20 organizations would use my money better than my own list of preferred charities?

But what's even stranger is the next page, an entire page dedicated to something else that's none of the DMV's business: voter registration. Yes indeed, you can use your driver's license renewal form to register to vote, or to change your registration. Most of it is conveniently filled in for you. And there's a place at the bottom to sign. That's for the voter registration, I'm sure, since you are agreeing to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida," and last I knew that wasn't a requirement for being able to drive legally. In fact, I don't even remember that being part of registering to vote, as if I were being sworn in as President, but I registered a long time ago. Be all that as it may, I'm certain that many people simply sign in the box, assuming it's part of the license renewal, leaving themselves open to fraud or even identity theft.

What should have been a one-page application or less—instructions, place to change address, what more do you need?—has become four pages of small and confusing print. 

Plus, these four pages are labelled Page 1, Page 2, Page 5, and one without any page number, with no hint as to where or what might be pages 3 and 4.

One more thing. The instructions clearly state where to mail your application form and check—though it's less clear which part of the four pages must be returned. They even include a handy pre-addressed envelope for the return. The catch? The address on the envelope is not the same as the address in the instructions. Not to mention that the back of the envelope specifies a way to make out the check that also differs from the instructions.

Finally, there's this confusing and disturbing statement:  Your completion of a driver license or identification card application will constitute notification of consent for voter registration purposes.  Huh?  What exactly am I consenting to?

I'm going to take a chance and send in my form (hopefully the right pages) and my check (hopefully to the right address), as best I can figure out—with the additional hope that I have not in the process consented to something I shouldn't have.

It's a good thing there's plenty of time before my current license expires.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 7:00 am | Edit
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They talk about voter registration here since apparently it is so difficult to register on the same day of voting here and that disenfranchises certain populations.

Given that you don't need any identification to prove you live in NH, or are who you say you are (other than signing a document affirming the above) I don't understand the argument at all, but people vigorously debate it and say that our registration laws are too strict.

I'm not sure how they could be any looser, other than not even asking the person to affirn that their name is X and they live in the voting district.

Posted by Jon Daley on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 11:02 am

I don't get it either. Our county bends over backwards to make it easy to vote, and people still complain. While I fully believe it is a citizen's duty to vote, I don't understand the idea of voting as magic: that it is the act of voting itself that counts, irrespective of whether the vote is intelligent, thoughtful, or well-informed. I think that attitude is somehow related to participation trophies, and the consequences even more dire.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

So recently here in Arizona I have heard of faux governmental websites that steal your information! They look and smell good but they are bogus for sure. Always caution when sending any information over the web. I know that you both know that very well with your awesome IT backgrounds! <3 It is easier to vote if you are dead I think! LOL Just kidding.

Posted by Pami Gregorio on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 5:12 pm
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