Two Reasons The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Sucks


1. Yesterday, I went to the Ohio BMV to get license plates for a car I'd recently bought. I wanted to pay for the tags and registration with a credit card but was told that the BMV didn't accept that form of payment because the credit card companies "charge a transaction fee" that the merchants have to pay and "that would eat into our fee." When I asked why they don't charge a convenience fee for those paying with credit cards, the clerk shrugged.

Such is the world of public-sector service provision, in which business practices that are universal (I've paid for cups of coffee with credit cards without hearing vendors bitch about merchant fees) are decades late in arriving. To its credit, the BMV did have an ATM machine right there. And they do take checks (but not check cards).

2. More seriously, here's a development covered by the ACLU in which the BMV has decided to get ahead of schedule in dinging folks born in Puerto Rico if they want a driver's license issued by the Buckeye State:

Earlier this year, Puerto Rico passed a law requiring that all birth certificates be reissued in order to combat identity theft. On September 30, 2010, all birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010 will become invalid.

However, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has preemptively said they will no longer accept Puerto Rican birth certificates effective immediately. This has left thousands of American citizens born in Puerto Rico without proper documentation to obtain a driver's license or state-issued identification. Many of these citizens must wait weeks or months before the Puerto Rican government can issue them a new birth certificate. Reportedly, Ohio is the only state to preemptively reject these birth certificates.

A state-issued ID is vital for people to access important social services, employment, voting, and travel throughout the country. American citizens born in Puerto Rico will face increased obstacles in exercising these fundamental rights.

More here.

Hat tip: Recidivist commenter Citizen Nothing.