However, in some states voters who want to renew or obtain a state photo ID or driver’s license (for voting or another purpose) have no choice but to go through the REAL ID process.
REAL ID is a set of national security standards for states to follow in issuing identity documents like driver’s licenses and state photo IDs. Most states’ REAL ID-compliant cards have one of the following star designs on the upper portion of the card.
The Department of Homeland Security has again pushed back the deadline for REAL ID. On December 5, 2022, it was announced that starting May 7, 2025, residents in every U.S. state and territory as well as the District of Columbia will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, or another acceptable form of identification (such as a valid U.S. passport) to access secure federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants, and board commercial aircraft. You can find out more from the Department of Homeland Security (click on “For the Public”).
The rollout of REAL ID standards has made renewing or obtaining a state driver’s license or ID card a more time-consuming and bureaucratic process. Voters are advised to plan in advance if they wish to renew or obtain ID to vote. As demand increases, we expect delays — and confusion regarding voter ID — to grow.
If you would like any information or assistance to secure your ID to vote, including the underlying documents needed to apply for a REAL ID, call or text our Voter ID Helpline at 866-ID-2-VOTE or chat with us on Messenger.
Voters can cast ballots using forms of identification other than a state-issued driver’s license or ID card.
Check the specific requirements for your state here:
In Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, South Dakota, and Wyoming some expired driver’s licenses or state ID cards can be used as voter ID.
In Colorado, Hawaii, and Utah, your driver’s license or state photo ID card must be current to be used as voter ID.
Applying for a REAL ID for the first time requires appearing in person with a variety of documents proving your identity. The list of documents that are acceptable, and the office that issues REAL ID-compliant identification cards, depends on where you live.
Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation that shows the following:
States may impose additional requirements, so check with your state’s driver’s licensing agency website, before visiting them in person, for additional guidance and assistance.