CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Secretary of State offices have been experiencing problems for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now a pilot program to cut down on long lines may be creating frustrations.
Kathy Johnson lives in McHenry, Illinois. Her driver’s license expires soon, and she needed to get a Real ID — the one with the star on it — that will allow her to fly.
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But for that, she has to visit an Illinois Secretary of State Office. She looked online Wednesday.
“And when I got online, I noticed something that said ‘appointments’ that caught my eye,” she said.
She’s talking about the Woodstock site. That location is a part of a pilot program for appointments to cut down on long lines. It seemed like no big deal.
“Everything came back as no appointments available,” she said.
She thought to try the next closest Lake Zurich location. The problem is that is also one of four Chicago area offices in the program. No immediate appointments were available there or in the future. The website says try later.
“I didn’t know what to do, and to me ‘Try back later’ — I can’t sit on my computer all day hoping something will show up,” Johnson said.
Frustrated, she tried again Thursday morning. The “day of” tab for Woodstock brought up a time slot that was too early. So she clicked the other tab for future slots.
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“They call it ‘advanced,’ which I think is confusing. An advanced appointment. Then if I clicked on that button, it opened up the day,” she said.
Thankfully, one fit her schedule. And the process was smooth sailing from there. But it raised more questions for this mom.
“I think they need to communicate to the communities that this is an option and when appointments become available, so people aren’t wasting their time.”
Dennis Khole finally got his Real ID after trying days to book a slot. He was finally successful after waking up early Thursday.
“When you keep trying it for four days in a row, you’re getting a little frustrated,” he said. “You can’t even get any advance bookings scheduled.”
And even Thursday Lake Zurich’s had no future dates. Woodstock only has one day listed next week as an option.
CBS 2 posed a lot of questions to the Illinois Secretary of State Office, but a spokesperson said for now they do drop appointments in the morning.
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The deadline to get the real ID is October first. The state says it’s trying to work with federal officials to extend that cutoff.