Man reaches out to News 4 Investigates after getting the run-around while trying to obtain a REAL ID

A local man who has just about every kind of ID imaginable told News 4 he’s getting the run-around getting a REAL ID.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A local man who has just about every kind of ID imaginable told News 4 he’s getting the run-around getting a REAL ID.

“My VA card, my military ID card, my service certificate of service in the armed forces card,” said Lowell David Roberts.

Still, his local Missouri license office told him he can’t get a REAL ID.

“It kind of makes you feel like a second-class citizen,” he said.

A lot of people already have their REAL ID, an ID card that meets minimum security standards for state-issued drivers licenses. The deadline to get it was coming up in May, but just got pushed back to 2025. Still, you’ll eventually need one to board domestic flights or access federal facilities.

“I wanted to get a REAL ID so I could get on the base,” he said.

Lowell works for a security company and has for many years since his time in the service. But his local license office recently told him, he was restricted from getting the REAL ID, all for a simple reason.

“I was born at home on a farm in Iowa,” he said.

Lowell told News 4 Investigates he’s never had a birth certificate.

“As soon as they found out I didn’t have a birth certificate, their explanation was ‘sorry,’ that’s the end of it, there was no more conversation,” he said.

All his other forms of ID didn’t cut it, he wasn’t sure what to do next.

“I called Channel 4 to see if we could do something about it,” he said.

News 4 Investigates sent his concerns straight to the state.

A spokesperson wrote back: “Missouri did not implement a document exception process for REAL ID-compliant application processing within our statute our regulation.” further saying: We follow the provisions of Federal regulation, in regards to the primary list of acceptable documents for proof of identity.”

Missouri’s Department of Revenue site offers an interactive guide outlining all the documentation needed to get a REAL ID, and it’s extensive. Without a passport, a birth certificate is one of the big ones: no exceptions.

Lowell said it doesn’t seem fair. But it’s the law. At 80 years old, he’ll have to file an application to finally get a birth certificate.

It turns out a lot of people haven’t gotten their REAL ID or they’re choosing not to. In Missouri, 31% of people now have their REAL ID, compared with 46% of people who elected to get a standard ID. In Illinois, just 32% of the population have gotten their REAL ID, and more than 6 million people electing to get a regular one instead.

That’s not surprising, experts said because someone may already have a passport or doesn’t plan on boarding a plane at all. But some people have said the amount of documentation needed can be onerous too.

Click here for more information on REAL IDs in Missouri.

Click here for more information on REAL IDs in Illinois.