Governor Kevin Stitt and first lady Sarah Stitt were some of the first to be issued their REAL ID’s Thursday at the Department of Public Safety, as state officials discussed their new plan for issuing the IDs. Stitt said this is part of the pilot production phase and the state will begin issuing the Real IDs starting in July.
Originally, DPS was going to be issuing Real IDs by April 30, but it was pushed back until at least July 1 because COVID-19 forced the department to close.
DPS officials said they will have to train employees and tag agents before they can begin issuing IDs and there are roughly 250 agencies in the state.
“The April deadline got pushed back for us because we couldn’t have these offices open to the general public with COVID-19, we’re phase reopening our locations right now,” said Chip Keating, Secretary of Public Safety.
Before the pandemic, the deadline for people to have their news IDs was October 1. Now, that date is set for October of 2021, which means Oklahomans can continue to use their regular driver’s license for now.
“Every state is required to be REAL ID compliant,” said Stitt. “Basically it’s a new driver’s license, our legislature passed it several years ago and so the team has got this stood up today.”
DPS said they’ve issued around 70 REAL IDs so far to test the system. The department said the pandemic has slowed things down in many ways. One being the vendor who designed the new system, Driver 360, is affected with travel restrictions. They’re hopeful the time people have to spend getting their ID will speed up by July.
“We’re all learning those too and we’re going to get better with time and so by July 1 when the whole public’s coming through, we absolutely anticipate this time coming down,” said Keating.
Though COVID-19 has presented many challenges, Governor Stitt said he’s optimistic in the direction they’re heading in.
“Things are progressing, looking good,” said Stitt. “Date is still looking very good in Oklahoma.”