Nearly 7,000 Voters to Receive Late Election Ballots

February 6, 2018

Software error prevented transmission of some licensing information to election officials

OLYMPIA — Nearly 7,000 voters will receive ballots this week for the February special election via first class mail due to a software error in the Department of Licensing’s (DOL) driver licensing database system that caused information to not be transmitted to the Office of the Secretary of State’s (OSOS) Voter Registration Division under Washington’s Motor Voter law.

Both OSOS and DOL have been working to ensure voters receive their ballots in time for the February Special Election. The data error was discovered in late January. Working with OSOS, the DOL Information Services team learned that when some customers changed their name (with or without an address change), and were assigned a new driver license number, those changes were made in DOL’s system but were not transmitted to OSOS’s system. Once the error was identified, the DOL team worked over the weekend of January 26 to develop and test a fix to the 30-year-old driver database system. The software fix was released into production on the evening of January 30.

DOL and OSOS worked together to match the voter data in the two systems. They determined the number of impacted voters is 6,969 statewide. These voters will receive special processing to receive ballots this week for the February 2018 election.

“We worked closely with the Office of the Secretary of State to identify and resolve this issue quickly,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “We regret these errors occurred and we have put in place new controls that monitor daily transmitted voter information to the Secretary of State to ensure it is complete and accurate. This error underscores the importance of replacing our decades-old driver licensing database system, which is scheduled to occur this September.”

Kohler said DOL appreciates the partnership of the OSOS in this situation, and their willingness to work toward a solution. DOL will also reimburse County Auditors for the cost of mailing ballots to affected voters that didn’t receive ballots.

Voters can verify their address, name and registration information at Questions or concerns about voter status can be directed to county auditors. A full list of county auditors is available here:

Read this news release in the following languages:


For more information about the Department of Licensing, please visit our website at

WA DOL issues Emergency Rule

January 26, 2018

(Olympia, WA)  Washington residents who apply for a standard driver license, instruction permit and ID card will no longer be asked to provide their place of birth as part of the application process.

On January 19, 2018 the Department of Licensing (DOL) filed emergency rule making to immediately end the collection of information that isn’t required by state or federal statute. This change takes effect today.

During the 120 day period the emergency rule is in effect, DOL will pursue rule changes in order to permanently eliminate place of birth as a requirement to apply for a driver license or ID card.

After 30 days, DOL will file proposed rule language altering WAC 308‐104‐014. DOL is required to hold a public hearing at least 20 days following submission of text. The rule becomes permanent 31 days from the date DOL files the exact text of the rule and the agency’s response to any written or verbal testimony.

DOL is taking these actions to ensure the agency is safeguarding personal information that can be used to determine immigration status and to uphold the intent of Governor Inslee’s Executive Order 17-01, Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.

For more information, visit

DOL takes immediate steps to stop disclosure of information to federal immigration authorities

January 15, 2018

OLYMPIA—The Washington State Department of Licensing is taking immediate action to ensure the agency is safeguarding personal information that can be used to determine immigration status and to uphold the intent of Governor Inslee’s Executive Order 17-01, Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.

 “We support the Executive Order, but failed to meet the Governor’s intent regarding the protection of this type of information,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said. “We are sorry that our work did not align with our state’s values.

“Our agency did not clearly communicate the nature of all federal law enforcement requests to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature. Nor did we seek clarification about how to handle information requested by agencies seeking records related to United States Code (USCs) that contain both criminal and civil immigration violations.

“We are completely focused on correcting our processes and rebuilding trust with all Washington residents,” Kohler said. “We are building a comprehensive plan to ensure greater accountability within the agency.”

In consultation with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General, DOL announced the following steps:

  • Stopping the release of all records to federal immigration authorities. Moving forward, records will not be released to these entities without a court order signed by a federal judge or magistrate, or under the requirement of state or federal law.
  • Conducting a thorough review of agency processes and computer systems with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General.
  • Using emergency rulemaking to end the collection of information that isn’t mandated and could be misused, such as place of birth information gathered during the driver license or ID card application process. Once the emergency rulemaking process begins, information can be found here:
  • Accepting the resignation of DOL Deputy Director Jeff DeVere’s. DeVere was the executive sponsor overseeing compliance with Executive Order 17-01.
  • Hiring of a community liaison officer to work with community groups to ensure DOL processes, procedures and services meet the needs of all Washington residents. This person, who will report to the agency director, will provide oversight and accountability and coordinate outreach and education to individuals and stakeholder groups.
  • Establishing a new hotline to answer customer concerns and any questions they may have about this issue.
  • Educating DOL staff on all changes made to policies and procedures related to the release of information to law enforcement and ensure all requests are evaluated properly. We also will make sure all staff understand the Governor’s Executive Order and the importance of diversity, tolerance and inclusion.

“I am working closely with stakeholder groups to improve our processes and provide more transparency going forward,” Kohler said.  Washington residents can submit questions or comments to Director Kohler at

Read this news release in the following languages:

Watch out for non-DOL websites

October 31, 2017
Example of a website that is NOT affiliated with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Example of a website that is NOT affiliated with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Be careful when considering any licensing or vehicle registration transaction on non-DOL websites.

While many websites offer online services, there is only one official website for the Washington State Department of Licensing:

Unofficial websites typically charge additional fees.  They may even charge for services that are free at

Worse yet, unofficial websites might never deliver the service you paid to receive.

For a safe, secure transaction without additional fees, please visit


State gets a new extension for new federal ID requirements

October 18, 2017

(OLYMPIA) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced all Washington state driver licenses and ID cards can be used for all federal purposes, including commercial air travel, under a REAL ID Act compliance extension that runs through October 10, 2018.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018, under Legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year. DHS has said states that have been determined to be compliant will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020 under current federal regulations.

“This extension gives Washington residents about three more years to decide if they will need a new type of identification. Many already have acceptable federal identification,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said.

When the REAL ID law is enforced in October 2020, no one will be required to get an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card. A variety of identification documents are acceptable for federal purposes under REAL ID, including U.S. passports and passport cards, military or military dependent ID cards, valid foreign passports or legal permanent resident cards and state-issued enhanced driver licenses or enhanced ID cards.

Life Hack: Renew your license or ID card online at

September 14, 2017

It’s that time again…you get a notice in the mail and now all you have to do is decide when you have time to renew your driver license. If the mere thought of that task feels a little traumatizing, you’re not alone. But we have good news, times have changed and now by visiting DOL.WA.GOV  you can securely renew your license or ID card ONLINE, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer! That means no line, no sacrificed lunch hour and no need to touch up your roots for a new photo.

It’s true that not everyone’s eligible to use our online services every time they need to renew. If you’re a Washington State resident you can only renew online every other time your license or ID expires. But did you know that in the past two years over 400,000 eligible people statewide waited IN-line to renew instead of going ONline? That’s a pretty significant number and it averages out to about 1,700 people per month.  If all of those people had renewed online, it would have made the in-office experience faster and more pleasant for the lady who was there for an eye exam, or the guy who just moved from California. So it’s an option worth checking into if your expiration date is coming up.

Here are the details:

Time to Renew! You have 3 options:

  1. License eXpress
  2. Online (without a License eXpress account)
  3. At a driver licensing office. Be prepared to wait in line. See Tips for visiting an office: Driver licensing offices.


Who can’t renew online?

  • You’ll need to visit an office if you:

◦Are under 24 or over 70 years old

◦Need to pass the vision screening

◦Need a new photo taken


Not you? Then congratulations, you’re eligible to renew online. You’ll need:

  • A device that allows you to access the internet
  • Your driver license or ID card number
  • Your Social Security number – last 4 digits
  • Visa, MasterCard, or American Express
  • Email address and/or printer


Hmmm…What else?….

Will my card have a new photo?

We use the last photo we took. If you want a new photo, you’ll need to visit a driver licensing office.

When will I get my new card?

You should receive it in 2-4 weeks. If you don’t get it within 30 days, please contact us at

Do I have to download an app?


More questions?

Click here.

Help us spread the word to friends, coworkers, family and everyone else on social media. Don’t be shy, if you have a friend or family member who is new to online services or their electronic device, offer to assist them by sharing  this video and explaining the process.

Permanent registration available for some intermittent-use trailers

September 13, 2017

Have an infrequently used personal trailer weighing 2,000 pounds or less?

Then you might be interested to know about new Washington state law that took effect this year.

That law opened the door for permanent registration options for some vehicles with “intermittent-use” trailer plates.


Vehicles with intermittent-use trailer plates:

  • May be used for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades and occasional pleasure use.
  • May be used for occasional pleasure use.
  • Cannot be held for rent to the public.
  • Cannot be used for commercial or business purposes.
  • Vehicles with these plates must have a scale weight of two thousand pounds or less.
  • You must be a Washington state resident in order to receive “intermittent use” trailer plates.
  • The plates can only be displayed on the vehicle they were purchased for.
  • Must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle.

The initial cost for the standard trailer plate is $20.75

Restored plates have an initial cost of $43.75

Customers pay a onetime registration fee of $187.50 (plus other applicable fees).

The vehicle must also be in good working order.

To learn more about vehicle requirements, applications, and other information, visit the Department of Licensing’s website at


Washington State Laws:

RCW 46.16A.428 Intermittent-use trailers—Permanent registration—Penalty—License plates—Definition—Rules

RCW 46.18.220 Collector vehicle license plates