Long lines at state vital records division

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Feb 25 2013 05:15:00 PM HST

Birth certificates and marriage licenses have been added to the horror stories about standing in line for drivers licenses and state ID cards in Hawaii.

HONOLULU -

The lines at the vital records office have been out the door.

Some residents in line said they spent the whole morning waiting to get certified copies of their birth or marriage certificates -- documents they need to get their drivers license or state identification cards.

Every day a staff of five processes 1,500 pieces of paper.

"We expect this to continue for the next eight years. It's overwhelmed us becasue we have had no increase in staff in ten years, and we have had this very large increase." said state health department registrar, Alvin Onaka.

Onaka said many people don't realize you can skip the wait and the parking hassles by ordering documents online.

Health officials will mail your copies right to you.  Click here for more information on ordering vital records.

The cramped offices and three windows don't make for an easy experience.  And the bosses are well aware of the problems.

"My heart breaks when I see elderly in line or moms with babies in line. We plan to renovate our front office, but the increased security requirements have put a burden on people," said Health Director Loretta Fuddy.

The long lines are why Fuddy and her staff were before lawmakers asking that the fees for certified copies be raised from $10 to $15.

The fees have not changed in more than a decade and a half and are have of what other states charge.           

With no extra staff, there seems to be no end in sight for the workload, not to mention the backlog that developed when staff was forced to take 52 days of furloughs.

"We definitely need the dollars we need to upgrade our computers system but more importantly, we need more staff so we can be more responsive to the consumer who come in for their vital records," Fuddy said.

Right now only one dollar of the ten dollar fee stays in the division.  The rest goes to the general fund.  DOH  believes that has to change.

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