What is Real ID?
The Real ID Act of 2005, quickly passed with no debate in the Bush years. The bill created regulations and deadlines for the states to comply. The Federal deadline was set for ten years and provided states extensions. Consequently, non-compliant states without Real ID standards will no longer be able to access federal buildings or domestic flights. Especially relevant, North Dakota is on the cusp of reaching the end of the extension in October.
Real ID requires applicants to provide documents to prove their identity, Social Security number, birth certificate and legal immigration status in the US. Additionally, it also requires that licenses be equipped with ‘machine readable‘ technology, like a chip or a magnetic strip, to store personal information. Data from one state made available electronically to all other states, and also to federal authorities. Finally, it also requires biometric data. States must provide facial recognition and authentification. This national ID is real, frightening, and is coming to North Dakota.
Real ID in North Dakota
The 60th Assembly of North Dakota in 2007 passed a concurrent resolution in April 2007 (SCR 4040) arguing against the REAL ID Act and urging Congress to repeal a bill that will “inconvenience the people of North Dakota without the proffered attendant benefits of protection from terrorism. The 60th Assembly estimated adoption of federal standards would cost the state $14 million. SCR 4040 also stated the REAL ID national database would invite identity theft and invasion of privacy. That was in 2007; North Dakota poised to nullify federal law.
Flash forward ten years, North Dakota seems to have given up the battle against federal overreach. In fact, it appears North Dakota is embracing a de facto national ID. This nightmare just needs Governor Burgums signature to become law. The North Dakota Senate passed a bill (43 to 2) that would implement an opt-in program for Real ID. This opt-in program would allow people who don’t want an “enhanced driver’s license” the ability to not have one. However, those without a Real ID would not be able to board an airplane or go into federal buildings. What happened to the opposition in 2007 and is this conservatism in North Dakota?