Can you take a moment to help with gathering some information?
The Tolerant Left insists it’s some sort of astronomical burden to obtain a photo ID — and that’s the “official” reason Democrats give for opposing requirements for photo ID checks at polling stations.
In this thread, let’s compile the following information on obtaining a photo ID in all 50 states to see if any burden actually exists that warrants the stink the Tolerant Left emits on this issue.
Let’s table for the moment the fact that a passport also qualifies as photo ID, as do military and law enforcement IDs. I want to focus solely on state photo ID cards (which are different from driver’s licenses). I know there are some extra fees to enjoy the privilege of having a driver’s license, but a state photo ID card can be obtained by any citizen of the state.
Can you chime in with your state’s info for the following:
1. State name
2. Requirements to apply for state ID (ie, what paperwork do you need)
4. Is there possibility of having fee waived for low-income people?
5. How long process takes
6. List of places in state where IDs can be obtained
If you know of something like this already in existence — with a table showing all the information above for each state — please add the URL to comments and we’ll go with that instead.
I’d like to use this as a resource in the future when I next hear the Tolerant Left argue against photo ID check requirements at polling stations because the only reason anyone would oppose checking IDs is if that person hoped to facilitate voter fraud in some way.
EXAMPLE: Let’s use the State of Illinois as our first example, to see how difficult or expensive it is to obtain a photo ID in “Barack Obama’s home state”.
Step One: I went to the State of Illinois’ Secretary of State’s website, which is called cyberdriveillinois.com . I did not know this URL off the top of my head so I found it by Googling “Illinois state ID” and was directed here. It took me a minute to find the right page because the website’s information architecture is poorly designed and predicated on the assumption that most information seekers want to know about driver’s licenses when I am interested only in a state photo ID for non-drivers. Since the Tolerant Left complains that it’s such a huge burden for someone without an ID to get one, I needed to assume that anyone driving a car on Illinois roads already has a photo ID (whether he or she wants to show it for political reasons or not).
Step Two: I immediately see that photo ID cards are FREE in the State of Illinois to people who are homeless. The website makes you scroll down to the bottom to see this, but there’s a special form to fill out that provides a free ID card:
Identification Card for the Homeless
Effective July 1, 2010, pursuant to Public Act 96-0183, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office will begin issuing no fee state identification cards to qualified homeless individuals.
A person qualifies for the no-fee identification card, if he or she is considered homeless as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 11302 or 42 U.S.C. 11434a(2).
This card is issued free of charge with the proper documentation to show proof of legal name, date of birth, social security number, and signature. The individual must also bring a completely executed Homeless Status Certification.
Step Three: I want to stay on the “free IDs for the homeless” option for a minute to see how difficult is to complete the paperwork for a free ID (before we go back up to the top and see how expensive it is to obtain an ID for someone who is not homeless). The Tolerant Left claims homeless people are disenfranchised when they are required to show valid photo IDs but I want to see if filling out a request for a free ID card is any more difficult than registering to vote in the first place.
Since the website says an ID card will be provided to a homeless person for free with “the proper documentation to show proof of legal name, date of birth, social security number, and signature” and a completed “Homeless Status Certification form”, let’s take a look at the proper documentation required for someone who has never had an Illinois state photo ID before.
Step Four: The proper documentation required is:
First-time Illinois Driver’s License/ID Card Applicant
An applicant applying for a driver’s license or ID card for the first time in Illinois must present:
•one document that satisfies each of Group A, B and C
•two documents that satisfy Group D (one document from Group D if applicant is under age 5 applying for an ID card; one document if applicant is applying for a no-fee ID card presenting a Homeless Status Certification)
This is where dealing with the government is always fun, because it is indeed a chore looking at charts and figuring out what documents are in each of these groups. You can see all of the various kinds of acceptable documents here, but the cliff’s notes are:
Group A = Documents Showing Your Written Signature
Group B = Documents Showing Your Date of Birth
Group C = Documents Showing Your Social Security Number
The Group D documents establish residency, and include things like your utility bills or other mailings that came to you from official sources.
Step Five: To certify as homeless for the purposes of the Group D documents pertaining to residency, the very simple form to fill out (one page only!) can be found here. It requires a public service agency to certify a person as a homeless resident of Illinois. According to the form, it can be an “agency, religious organization, or other affiliated person” making the certification. An attorney can complete this certification as well — and here in Illinois there are attorneys available through a wide array of programs who will due this for free. The Secretary of State’s office is required by law to help homeless people get these documents completed so it is neither a daunting nor burdensome task.
Step Six: In addition to the homeless, people over 65 and disable people also are given free ID cards.
Step Seven: The fee for non-homeless people who are not disabled and under 65 to obtain a state ID card is $20.
I wonder if that fee would be waived if a person provided proof of no income or arranged help in obtaining a state ID card through a state agency. It’s 7am as I’m writing this, and I can’t find information on that right now online…but I’m interested enough in the answer that I’m going to make a few calls later this morning when the Secretary of State’s office opens to see if that fee is set in stone if a person specifically says he needs the photo ID to vote and can’t afford to pay for an ID card (but he’s not homeless, disabled, or over 65).
While I’m researching Illinois, can you do the same for your state? It’s a little time-consuming, but it feels great collecting this information to refute the apocryphal stories the Tolerant Left tells on this issue.
© 2012, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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