Will DMV’s money-saving measures lead to more identity theft?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Shelby County woman is calling out the government. She says they haven’t done a good enough job training election officials about a new form of identification, and it almost kept her from voting.

Kathleen Butler said, “I’ve used it at the grocery store, at the bank to get a new account set up.”

She is talking about her new Tennessee license. Butler just moved back home, and when she went to get her license changed, they gave her a paper copy. But it raised some eyebrows when she went to vote on Monday.

“Someone who is supposed to be trained in verifying documents was not updated on what they’re doing for everyone right now at the DMV.”

Butler eventually cast her ballot after some back and forth, but her frustration grew when she got home and found her license in the mail. Only it didn’t come straight from the DMV, it came from the person living in her house from more than a decade ago!

“The government is supposed to prevent identity theft, not cause it by trying to save money in their processes.”

She says she put her Bartlett address on her license application form, and this mistake in the state system sent her very personal information to a complete stranger. She’s hopeful for the best, but says in 2014, you can’t be naive.

“If they’re honest enough to at least get it to me I’m just hoping they didn’t take the information down, but you never know.”

WREG reached out to the Department of Homeland Security to ask if the state did any training with election officials about the paper licenses. Officials tell us they notified election commissions and police in Shelby County about these new IDs in August of 2013. They’re also looking into what caused Butler’s license mix-up.


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