Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel E. Bowser with Virginia McLaurin, who now has access to a government photo ID

Longtime Washington, D.C., native Virginia McLaurin, famous for her gleeful dancing as she met with the President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, saw little hope in ever obtaining a government-issued photo ID. 

Speaking to the Washington Post over the weekend, the 107-year-old detailed how she had lost her ID when her purse was stolen several years ago and the vicious bureaucratic cycle she was stuck in trying to acquire a new one now. In order to do so, she would need a copy of her birth certificate from South Carolina, where she was born, but in order to get that birth certificate, she’d need a photo ID. 

Luckily for McLaurin, who just celebrated her birthday, D.C. doesn’t require photo ID to vote, but the lack of documentation was still frustrating when she had to take care of official business, or even when she was trying to do something as simple as book a plane ticket. 

On Tuesday, however, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced a new regulation, effective immediately, that will allow McLaurin an easy path to obtaining a District photo ID, the Washington Post reports


The new rule, according to the Post, is aimed at helping those 70 and older, who may not have the usually required documents for obtaining a District-issued “Real ID,” which is required for air travel and other identification purposes. The regulation allows the District’s Department of Motor Vehicles director to broaden the list of documents accepted from residents 70 and older, who may have problems digging up birth certificates or other identifying information. 

According to the Post, Bowser herself, along with Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue and DMV Director Lucinda M. Barbers, met up with McLaurin to finish her paperwork. McLaurin now has a brand-new temporary ID, which will be valid until she gets her permanent one in the mail. D.C. had been working on the exception since June, along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Bowser said that it was a “commonsense” fix for older people, who might have trouble providing documentation that might not even have existed when they were born.


“Our seniors deserve easy access to a government photo ID so they can take advantage of the many benefits, activities and services that other residents enjoy,” Bowser said.

McLaurin said that she was grateful for the efforts that are now in place for all those who may be in her situation in the District. 


“I thank the Lord, Mayor Bowser and everyone who helped me get my photo ID renewed,” she said. “I am especially happy to know that now all seniors in D.C. will be able to get an ID more easily.” 

Read more at the Washington Post