Digital IDs as Legal Form of Identification

Beginning Dec. 1, 2019, digital identifications such as driver’s licenses and non-driver IDs will be valid forms of identification in Colorado. This change is the result of an executive order signed by the governor of Colorado on October 30, 2019. The Digital ID enables Coloradans to create an electronic version of their Colorado driver license or state identification (ID) card and can be displayed on smartphones for proof of identification, age, and address within Colorado. The Executive order states in part that:

The Colorado Digital ID shall be authorized and may be accepted, as a legal form of personal identification for use in Colorado.

Several other states are also moving toward digital IDs – Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio – along with Washington, D.C. Two states, Alabama and Arizona, are partnering with IDEMIA on electronic ID (eID) projects to secure residents’ identities in other contexts besides getting behind the wheel. IDEMIA, which works with about 80 percent of U.S. DMVs on licensing programs. Iowa was poised to adopt digital driver’s license technology in 2018, but its adoption has been pushed back to 2020.

The Alabama Department of Revenue announced a pilot in April, testing an eID to secure state tax returns — and offering priority processing to residents who try it out. On their website, officials reminded visitors the eID is the:

[O]nly online ID that ties back to the in-person proofing process your Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) conducts when you apply for a driver’s license or state ID.

Of course, there are a number of questions around digital IDs, including whether they would be accepted in another state for use with remote online notarization. As an example, Ohio’s law requires “satisfactory evidence” for the identification requirement. The question is whether Ohio would accept a Colorado digital ID when an Ohio Notary is notarizing documents for someone in Colorado. According to the Ohio Secretary of State, digital IDs would be a valid form of identification because they are legal in Colorado.

As the saying goes … the only constant is change. It will be interesting to see how digital IDs progress and when Mississippi starts looking into them.