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Dayton vouches for Minnesota’s Real ID readiness

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Gov.  Mark Dayton pledged Thursday that this fall's launch of the Real ID driver's license in Minnesota will be smoother than other recent high-profile computer system roll-outs.

Dayton appraised the Real ID progress in the wake of the botched debut of a new vehicle licensing system recently and the problem-plagued MNsure launch a few years ago. By October, Minnesota will start issuing the new security enhanced driver's licenses to meet federal requirements. Applicants must do more to prove their identity.

Dayton said at a news conference he's confident the Real ID program will be ready to go.

"I would give Minnesotans my assurance we are going to have this taken care of. I think we have been on top of this all the way. It's been managed well. We have a good relationship with the contractor. We've found a reputable, private contractor to put this together," he said. "I mean everything is tracking."

Dayton said the firm Minnesota is using helped seven other states update their driver's license program to comply with a 2005 federal law.

Not all Minnesotans are expected to get the new licenses at once, with some likely to hold out until closer to expiration of existing licenses.

So the Dayton administration is also seeking a federal extension that would temporarily allow people to use their standard licenses to board commercial aircraft and enter secured military bases and buildings. Dayton said early and ongoing consultations with the federal Department of Homeland Security make him hopeful an extension will be granted.

Minnesota is one of the last states to issue the Real ID.