The city identification would be much easier to obtain than state licensing, OneID Columbus explained. This would provide a feasible alternative for immigrants, ex-convicts, and the impoverished senior citizens of the city to obtain proper verification, a hindrance that often times keeps many away from voting booths and possible employment.
Other incentives the card could provide include functioning as a prepaid debit card, possibly granting access to public transportation, and serving as I.D. verification when applying for a library card.
According to a recent study, approximately 21 million people (a total of about 11 percent of Americans) don’t currently have photo identification. Not only that but twenty-five percent of African-American voting-age citizens have no current government-issued photo ID, that’s compared to eight percent of white voting-age citizens.
Poor and lower income Americans are also disproportionally affected. Nearly 15 percent of voting-age citizens earning less than $35,000 per year do not have a valid government-issued photo ID.
Said Councilman Michael Stinziano, “That one form of ID could be an important way in which to connect people and continue to build on our wonderful diversity in the City of Columbus”
Other cities with similar municipal identification programs include New York City, Iowa City, Newark, New Jersey, as well as San Francisco, Oakland, and New Haven, Connecticut.