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Some valid questions for Secretary White

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019

* We’ve already talked about this

A Rockford woman is suing the Illinois secretary of state in an attempt to change a state rule requiring those who wear a religious head covering in their driver’s license photo to also certify that they do not normally remove that head covering in public.

Maryjane Bicksler, 68, filed the lawsuit this week in Chicago federal court with the help of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The suit states that Bicksler, who is Muslim and wears a hijab, went to her local driver’s services facility in Rockford to renew her driver’s license in July. She was asked to sign a form saying that if the secretary of state’s office, which is in charge of driver’s services, received evidence that she does not wear her hijab in public, her driver’s license would be canceled.

* Zorn asks some good questions. Too bad he didn’t get any answers

You can have a full beard for your license photo and shave it off the moment you get home, and your license is still valid.

You can wear a wig for your license photo. You can change to a dramatically different wig, dye your hair or shave yourself bald the moment you get home, and your license is still valid.

You can wear prescription glasses for your photo, then switch to contacts the moment you get home, and your license is still valid.

As long as the photo shows the applicant’s eyes, nose and mouth without shadow or obstruction, what’s the difference?

I put this question to White’s office Thursday, but a spokesman cited the pending litigation and declined to offer any comment on the topic.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Eli - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Seems like a facial recognition software issue. As the prime source for this data, the SOS may be confronted more and more with this issue when people don’t want to put themselves into a database for basic privacy concerns.

  2. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    The Illinois administrative code requires it so I don’t think we can blame the secretary of state’s office.

  3. - lakeside - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    The courts are going to have to resolve this in Bicksler’s favor. Zorn raises excellent points, not to mention that seems to fly in the face of the first amendment to tell someone how exactly they must practice elements of their religion, including consistently and at all times.

  4. - Just Sayin' - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    NoGifts: Its the administrative code of the SOS. So, yes, the SOS is responsible for this rule.

  5. - don the legend - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    ==You can wear prescription glasses for your photo, then switch to contacts the moment you get home, and your license is still valid.==

    I remove my glasses only to shower and sleep but was told to remove them for my photo.

  6. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    I recently went in to the SPI Driver’s Service Center to get an enhanced drivers license since beginning January 1, 2020 one will have great difficulty in boarding an aircraft without one. The enhanced licenses require the individual to remove their eyewear since the facial recognition photo has difficulty working with eyewear when authorities are trying to make a comparison.

    So, I’m required to wear glasses both day and night, but my DL photo is me without glasses… Have I done something wrong?

  7. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    “I remove my glasses only to shower and sleep but was told to remove them for my photo.”

    It’s more of a question of lighting than face covering. I was asked to take them off at a mobile SoS facility but to keep them on at the permanent office, because the latter had lighting to prevent glare.

  8. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    ===administrative code requires it so I don’t think we can blame===

    Um, who do you think wrote that rule?

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===administrative code requires it so I don’t think we can blame===

    Um, who do you think wrote that rule?


    Probably someone in the the Sec of State’s office. ILCS indicates that photographs are at the discretion of the SOS.

  10. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Not the people enforcing it. It went through a regular process of public comment. I guess the other four fingers are pointing back at us? And who in the state is reviewing the rules to make sure they’re constitutional? Is that our legislators on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules?

  11. - Kyle Hillman - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Anyone know when this rule was drafted? Seeing how this woman wore a pasta strainer on her head - curious if they wrote this rule creating a problem where there really wasn’t one,

  12. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    Changing your look from your ID is likely going to cause you more problems in the places where you may be asked to produce it. I’m more fascinated that a Muslim lady’s name is Maryjane Bicksler. If she is a recent convert to the religion, she may have a picture or two in the records without the religious headwear.

  13. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 4:24 pm:

    “I’m more fascinated that a Muslim lady’s name is Maryjane Bicksler.”

    There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    – MrJM

  14. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 5:18 pm:

    ==I’m more fascinated that a Muslim lady’s name is Maryjane Bicksler. ==

    Really? Are there certain characteristics Muslims are supposed to have?

  15. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 5:33 pm:

    Kyle, you might be onto something. The admin code was amended effective October 26, 2016 and according to the posting in the Illinois Register the rule change was first published in July 2016, so shortly after that incident happened. The rules change addressed religious head coverings and photographs.

  16. - Taxedoutwest - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 5:59 pm:

    Greatest, and I mean the greatest SOS on a state level, and someone is questioning him? Ever go to another state and explain the ONLY thing in IL state government that works in IL is Jesse White…in the DMV at 10am and out by 10:15, and the out-of-staters don’t believe you. Leave this good…no, GREAT man alone

  17. - RNUG - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 6:11 pm:

    == … prescription eyewear … ==

    Just renewed my license. As others noted, you now have to remove your eyeglasses … even if your DL says you wear them.

  18. - RNUG - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 6:12 pm:

    This took place at SOS on Dirksen, 31st or Bypass 66 to us old folks.

  19. - Team America - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:37 pm:

    It’s tangential to the post, but I believe the reason you have to remove eyewear now for your DL is because of federal ID requirements to have the IL DL valid for flying. Basically just like passport photos have required for a while.

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