Unintended Consequences

I would Have Never Thought

September 13, 2022

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Unintended Consequences

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By Ron Munden – September 13, 2022

Last month I misplaced my driver’s license.  So I rode to the DMV office to get a replacement copy. My license does not expire until 2026. The last time I did this was about 10 years ago and it took me 15 minutes.

That was before our Governor and our State Legislators passed a set of voter suppression laws – sometimes called election integrity laws.

When I arrived at the DMV office two other elderly people were in line.  Both wanted to renew their driver’s license.  Both were told they had to have their birth certificate with them in order to renew.  Neither had the document and both walked out shaking their heads.

I thought I was OK since I only wanted to get a copy of my current license and I had a photocopy of that document on my phone.  I filled out a form and waited.  Soon I was called to a desk.  I explained I just needed a copy of my current license and showed the lady the photo of the license on my phone.

The response was, “you can’t get a copy unless you have your birth certificate with you.”

I explained that I had no idea where my birth certificate was and had not seen it for 70 years.  I was told I MUST have a copy of my birth certificate or I could not get a copy of my current driver’s license.  I was told to go to the county courthouse and apply for a birth certificate.

So Senior Citizen #3 left the DMV shaking his head.

I drove to the courthouse and met with two very nice ladies.  I told them I needed a copy of my birthday certificate.   I filled out a form and they asked to see my driver’s license.

I explained that I misplaced my drivers license and I need a copy of my birth certificate in order to  get a copy of my driver’s license.  We all laughed.

Luckly, the “License to Carry Handgun” card opens all doors in Texas.  Being a gun-carrying Texan, I produced my card and $23 later I had my very own birth certificate.

So it was back to the DMV office with my birthday certificate.  I proudly showed them my birth certificate.  They were impressed.  They wanted to take a picture of it.  I was so excited I took a selfie of me and my birth certificate.

My birth certificate and a few dollars more got a piece of paper that said  I had applied for a replacement driver’s license.  

This entire effort only took 2 ½ hours and tied up three people not including yours truly.

The next morning I walked into my office, opened the top of my copy machine and there was my missing driver’s license.  Sure I had wasted 2 ½ hour but I was happy with the experience.  I got to see our state tax dollars at work thanks to our lawmakers in Austin.

I admire our Legislators’ attempt at making it difficult to vote in hopes that it will keep their entire party in office even if the citizens don’t want them there.  Unfortunately,  I think their approach was poorly thought out.

If these people were serious about security, which they were not, requiring a birth certificate is the least secure document they could have selected.

A birth certificate was designed using 1850 technology.  It is the easiest document to counterfeit of all documents known to man.  A 9th grade computer nerd can produce 1000’s a day working in his bedroom.  I am sure there are underground operations producing counterfeit birth certificates on demand for the real bad guys.  Most likely at a cost less than the $23 it costs to get a real birth certificate.

A birth certificate is a nuisance document.  It makes life difficult for honest people, particularly old people, but is not a roadblock for any dishonest person.

In the 1980s I worked on Department of Defense projects that required a Top Secret SBI clearance.  As part of the application process I have to provide numerous documents and fill out a stack of forms a ¼ inch high.  One thing they did not require is a birth certificate.  Most likely because it is a useless document when it comes to security.

So thank you Mr. Legislators for making life difficult for us old people and increasing the workload for state and county employees. When I go to bed at night, I feel much better knowing you are in bed sleeping and not out here passing more stupid laws.

Note: 

While I am less than impressed with the Texas Legislature, I am very impressed with the ladies I dealt with at both the DMV office and the Harrison County Courthouse.  They could not have been any more professional and courteous. 

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One thought on “Unintended Consequences

  1. Nice one, Ron! I think we’ve all been in situations like that, where we end up working for the bureaucracy instead of the other way around! =gary=

    Like

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