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VERIFY: Do you need the new REAL ID to vote?

The topic of REAL ID's and voting requirements have once again triggered a great deal of misinformation online.

WASHINGTON — Question: 

Do you need the new REAL ID to vote? 


No. On Oct. 1, these new licenses will be necessary for flying and to access federal buildings, but not for voting. 


D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles

Department of Homeland Security

Virginia Department of Elections

Maryland Office of the Attorney General

D.C. Board of Elections


With Super Tuesday one week away, the topic of REAL ID's and voting requirements have once again triggered a great deal of misinformation online. 

On social media, many have started spreading claims that the new licenses are necessary to vote. Others simply expressed confusion about the whole process. 

The Verify team turned to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Elections to get answers. 

The movement towards REAL ID's started in 2005, when Congress passed the REAL ID Act, in an effort to "improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification," according to the D.C. DMV.

The change was recommended by the 9/11 commission to "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses," according to DHS. 

The new ID's look similar to the old ones, but can be identified by one of five star symbols in the top right corner.

A major deadline is approaching, set for Oct. 1, 2020. By this date, everyone will need this new REAL ID in order to board a commercial flight, access a federal facility or enter a nuclear power plant. 

The DMV emphasized though that these ID's are not needed to vote or to register to vote. The old driver's licenses will still do the trick. 

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