Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

May 10, 2013

Proof of identity

Clerks face time-consuming process

— — New identification standards recently enacted by the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles are creating an extra-hardship upon employees at the Mercer County Courthouse. However, local officials are to be credited for finding ways to help streamline the time-consuming process.

Birth certificate requests from people who now need that document to obtain or renew a driver’s license have almost tripled in recent months. Mercer County Clerk Verlin Moye estimates that his office now processes 300 to 500 birth-certificate requests a month. This is triple the number of requests the public made before the state Department of Motor Vehicles started using new identification standards for issuing and renewing driver’s licenses.

Many of the requests are for DMV license renewals. The new guidelines do not allow any room for errors. In the past, misspellings were acceptable, but that is not the case anymore, according to Moye. Typographical errors that happened years ago now have to be corrected.

“It’s really strict. Everything has to match to the letter,” Moye said.

In some cases, a new baby’s name was misspelled at a hospital. Some other cases involve people who got into the habit of using their middle name or initials instead of their first names. Finding the truth behind a discrepancy is often a challenge for the clerk’s office staff.

However, Moye is to be credited for coming up with ways to streamline this new burden his office is facing.

“What we’re doing right now, to get the pressure off my staff, is to go ahead and input the data for the birth certificates,” Moye said last week. “We will go ahead and have those computerized. It will speed up the process.”

New birth certificates are filed by computer, but older ones are bound in large books. Using them is a time-consuming job. “They go into the book, and grab the birth certificate manually and type it out,” Moye said.

It has been estimated that inputting all the birth certificates going back to 1974 into the office’s computer system will take 89,600 minutes, or approximately 230 days. Moye said his staff has been going over the data for about a year now, and has been working at a quicker pace in recent weeks.

Moye is advising citizens seeking a new driver’s license to begin gathering the necessary documents at least a month before their license expires. Some birth certificate requests can take days to process. He also advises individuals seeking licenses to visit the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website. The site’s driver’s license section lists the documentation required for an application.

The new DMV requirements are creating quite a few headaches both for citizens and those county employees now being faced with the increased proof of identity requests. Moye and his staff are to be applauded for attempting to make the best of a bad situation, and for their efforts to streamline this already difficult task.

 

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