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Mercer Still Waiting For Real IDs

With Federal Deadline Looming, States Scramble To Provide New IDs

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Robert Moore

Herald Staff

There is still no word on when the Mercer County Circuit Court Clerk’s office will begin offering new standard and Voluntary Travel ID credentials.

According to a press release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Mercer was supposed to begin issuing new Kentucky driver’s licenses, permits and IDs in April as part of a statewide rollout. However, that rollout has been moved back at least three times since it was first announced in January.

While Franklin and Woodford Counties have begun issuing the new IDs, Mercer County Circuit Court Clerk Allison Buchanan said she has not received word from the state on when her office will begin issuing them. Staff members have received training on the new IDs, Buchanan said.

The Real ID law was enacted by congress back in 2005 with an original deadline of 2008, but that has been pushed back many times since then. According to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees implementation of the law, the final deadline is Oct. 1, 2020. On that date, Kentucky’s standard licenses will no longer be accepted to board U.S. flights or enter military bases.

Kentucky is not the only state in the nation having trouble rolling out the new IDs. According to the website, half a dozen states have experienced problems. In California and Maryland, miscommunication between the state motor vehicle departments and the Department of Homeland Security about which documents are required to prove residency forced residents to recertify Real IDs they’d already been issued.

Here in Kentucky, citizens may only apply at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. Within five to 10 business days, they can receive one of two forms of identification: a standard driver’s license or a voluntary travel ID.

The standard driver’s license allows the bearer to drive, vote, access federal and social benefit services. A voluntary travel ID allows the bearer to board U.S. flights and access restricted federal facilities.

When the new IDs finally arrive here in Mercer, don’t expect to be able to get it done in a hurry. To receive a travel ID, applicants must provide documents that prove their identity and social security number and two proofs of residency such as a certified birth certificate, a current year’s tax return, a current salary statement or a utility bill.

As a result of the increased documentation as well as technical glitches, wait times have doubled in Franklin and Woodford Counties, according to WDRB.

When they become available, a new eight-year standard driver’s license will be $43, and a new eight-year Voluntary Travel ID will be $48. Four-year credentials are half the cost. More complete pricing, including information for motorcyclists and CDL holders, is available at

The Mercer County Circuit Court Clerk’s office is located at 224 South Main Street. For more information, call 734-8452.

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