Nora Elze is 88, and still pretty spry, so she’d still like to do her own errands. But when it comes to driving around Savannah, well, her car is still in the garage. That’s because she can’t get aGeorgia driver’s license and it has nothing to do with her age, it has to do with her name.
Elze and her husband Warren lived in Savannah for fourteen years. “so from 1985 to 1999, I had a Georgia’s driver’s license,” she tells me. She and Mr. Elze moved back from Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. “And we went right in to get our licenses. My husband got his without any trouble, but I couldn’t get mine,’ she tells me.
Mrs. Elze was told that because her birth certificate had her maiden name on it and her Pennsylvania ID had her married name, she would need to prove that she was married. “I think this is crazy, we got married in 1946,” she told me.
Susan Sports, from Georgia’s Department of Driver Services says the issue is a paper trail and that relates to the new “Real ID” law that will be implemented in 2013. She says the name on the birth certificate must match the name of the licensee or they need an official document (like a marriage license) to indicate their name has been legally changed. “We regret any inconvenience to the customer,” Sports says. “But she needs to make a good faith effort to locate her marriage license. If she can’t, there may be a chance she can receive a waiver and get the license,” she says.
Sports says while the new law (passed under the Bush Administration) is not yet in place, Georgia DDS has been implementing parts to basically get ahead of the curve. She says it is still officially up to state lawmakers to opt in to the new law.
For Mrs. Elze, it all seems like a lot of trouble to prove something that should be obvious by now. “Like the fact that I have been married since 1946,” she says.