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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Struggle to Regain My Civil Rights

July looms before me.

For the first time in 8 years, I must obtain a new Driver's License.

A lot has changed since I got the old one.

I won't blame  our fine governor, Rick Scott,  for the DL changes.... no, the effort to exclude people from driving in the state of Florida (and hence, having an official identity here) began in the Charlie Crist area.  It was simple.  Suddenly, in order to obtain a Driver's License, it wasn't enough to have one from another state, along with a Social Security card, like I had in 1996 when I first got my Florida DL, a document I have lawfully possessed for the last 17 years, requalifying for the card in 2004.

Now I must prove my birth, with an official birth certificate, complete with seal.... a document created on paper some 57 years ago (I have this; having replaced it in the last 10 years).    And, since I am a second-class citizen, a woman who, when married, ACTUALLY CHANGED HER LAST NAME to match her husband's... I must prove that my FORMER  last name on my birth certificate matches the former last name on my marriage license.  This document was obtained somewhere in Rochester, New York, some 33 years ago.

It is possible that my ex-husband still has that marriage certificate somewhere, with the original copy of my birth certificate, and those of my children, which were entrusted to his care by virtue of the fact that he got to keep the fireproof safe in the divorce.  I would call and ask, since we live on good terms, but that didn't work with the birth certificates, all of which I have paid to replace.  It is more likely that the marriage certificate got shredded than those birth papers anyway, meaningless piece of paper it was to him, especially after he remarried.  I digress.

I began my quest yesterday when I learned that, in the state of New York, where I was married, where virtually every official "thing" in the state...outside of the NYC boroughs,  is at the County level.  The County website eventually yielded the fact that the marriage license records are issued and stored by the TOWNSHIPS within the county.  It is likely that mine was issued (I confess, I remember the ceremony, not getting the license) in the town of Greece, where we lived and Frank worked...or in the city of Rochester, where I worked.  I have started with the town, which only accepts apps for copies by MAIL, with money orders attached.  If that doesn't work, I will need to go thru the same process with the city.  Hopefully, one of these two sorties will produce the document I need, some 33 years later, in order to prove that I can drive in Florida.   I ask the question... does this happen to married males?  If I qualified to change my SSN with the freakin' Federal government in 1979, and have filed tax returns ever since (and had DL's in two different states)....why the hell does Florida need to make me prove my name change?

Would you believe I also have to produce 2 utility bills at my current address to get the license?  That particular requirement is designed to curb the ability of non-property owners (translation...young citizens most probably born in Florida).  Good thing I pay my own utilities where I rent.

Oh, yes.  The DL?  The current governor's regime has passed strict new voting laws that could pose a problem for me since I am a renter.  Thus, once I have said DL, I will need to insure that I am properly VOTER REGISTERED, something I have done 8 times before in the state of Florida without having to prove my identity.  Thanks to Rick Scott, there are many, many new rules to follow before you can vote.  I like to think that Rick didn't restrict a large portion of the population (women, young people, the elderly, the indigent) just because he knows that I will vote to move his ass out of Tallahassee at my first opportunity.  He didn't really have anything against me... no more than the rest of women, young people, the elderly, the indigent.  His administration also removed the right of the incarcerated to vote.  I guess I know where I stand.

 I am registered as an independent (or was registered), so it is likely that that I will have no problem getting registered, once I show those utility bills and that much prized DL that I had to move heaven and earth to get.  It would be different if I was formerly registered as a  .... Democrat.  God knows what I would have to produce then.

I'm tired of this nonsense.


Kelly said...

This is overkill. Nothing like government red tape and beaurocracy.

Serena said...

Oh, good heavens! What a ridiculous mass of red tape. Good luck!

raven said...

I hope that you were able to get
your new driver's license. I can
understand from what you shared
how extremely frustrating- and what
a bureaucratic mess it was. Raven

Debby said...

Wow. This is incredible. That's more rigamarole than getting a passport.