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Woman with 36-character last name hopes Hawaii changes letter of the law

What’s in a name? Apparently too many letters for one Hawaii woman, who claims local officials are asking her to alter her lengthy last name because it exceeds the number of characters permitted on state-issued identification cards.

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele has carried two identification cards for the past two decades as a result of her extended moniker, KHON2.com reports.

“The county has never accommodated my name on my driver’s license,” she told the station.

Since the woman’s license drops the 36th letter of her surname and doesn’t include her first or middle name, Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele also carries a state-issued identification card, which had previously included her full name.

“The governor’s office went back into the computer department and they found a way to put our name on our state ID,” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele said.

But that all changed in May, when Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele’s state ID expired and her new card was issued just like her driver’s license, creating myriad problems for the woman, including not being able to travel and being questioned by a police officer during a traffic stop.

“He looked at it and he goes, ‘Well, where is your first name?’” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele said. “And I said, ‘Don’t blame me. This is your department, this is the county.’”

County officials have since told Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele to take her maiden name or perhaps shorten her last name, but she’d prefer not to do that out of respect for her late husband.

“And I went, ‘How disrespectful of the Hawaiian people,’” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele said.

A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Transportation told the station that efforts are being made to extend the character limit to 40 so the issue can be resolved.

“I really, really appreciate any attention to this issue because it’s not only for me, it’s also for those who come after me who also are going to be dealing with this in the future,” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele said.

Click for more from KHON2.com.

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