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State tries to clear up confusion between driver's license or Real ID use

Maine residents are confused about what to use, either a driver's license or a Real ID, when trying to vote or purchase alcohol.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine's secretary of state is working to clear up confusion created by the state's roll out of two different types of driver's licenses and state identification cards.

RELATED: Maine starts issuing REAL IDs

The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles began in July offering residents the option of driver's licenses and state identification cards that comply with the federal Real ID Act of 2005. 

The two ID's look almost identical, the only difference is the gold state of Maine in the top right corner of the new Real ID. Most recently there's been a lot of confusion surrounding the 'Not For Real I-D Purposes' stamp found on some newly issued Maine drivers licenses. 

This has caused some confusion for Maine residents who try to use identification that isn't Real ID compliant to do things like register to vote or purchase alcohol.

Here's why some people have that stamp and others don't -- those who choose to opt out of the real-ID program will have this on their license.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says identification that says "Not valid for Real ID purposes" is still valid to complete these types of transactions, and others such as picking up prescriptions.

However, come October of 2020, if you opt out of the Real ID using your driver's license for identification will no longer be sufficient for boarding a plane or entering secure federal buildings.

For that you will need a passport in addition to your Maine license. 

To help clarify, the state is working to issue these explainer cards which breaks down how and what your ID can be used for.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says it should help answer a lot of those frequently asked questions.

"If you present a non-compliant credential and whoever you're doing business with says 'oh, I can't take that' or 'I don't think I can take that'," Secretary Dunlap said. "Then you have the official state card that has the state seal on it that explains the difference so they can feel safe accepting that credential."

RELATED: Maine Secretary of State says federal agents will not have open-ended access to ID database

The federal government will require Real ID-compliant identification for domestic air travel next year.

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