Traverse City Record-Eagle

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July 21, 2013

'Government overreaching'

SUTTONS BAY — Jackie Freeman understands that Americans want their safety in the post 9/11 era, but the government’s quest for security is getting on her nerves.

“It all goes back to the terrorism thing: government puts so many barriers in your way,” said Freeman, a Suttons Bay resident.

Freeman recently became frustrated at the Secretary of State’s office in Traverse City, where a friend tried to obtain a Michigan driver’s license. He’s a former Florida resident and recently moved in with her.

“They told him, ‘We can’t issue you a driver’s license until we see a utility bill or a lease,’” she said.

But his name wasn’t on her utility bill. And since he’s debt-free, he had no bills. So Freeman, a property manager, created a lease that reflected the rent he pays her. Employees at the Secretary of State’s Traverse City office still refused to issue him a license.

“I don’t know if this is government overreaching, but they made it impossible for him to get a Michigan driver’s license,” she said.

Freeman said her friend then went to the Secretary of State branch in Suttons Bay where the supervisor knew her and accepted the lease as documentation.

Fred Woodhams, Lansing-based spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said the state requires five different types of documentation to fully prove identity for security reasons. The lease should have been satisfactory.

“We have to know people are who they say they are,” he said.

Freeman also bristled after getting a bill for her Suttons Bay post office box. She received a notice to fill out a form, provide photo identification and proof of where she lives, such as a voter registration card or a copy of her mortgage.

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