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.
COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A grassroots effort is pushing the City of Columbus to create a municipal identification program.
One ID Columbus hopes to help local residents prove their identity with a new kind of photo ID-card.
Speakers from New York City, Detroit and Baltimore were in town, explaining how similar municipal ID programs have been successful in their cities. The summit met on Tuesday at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus.
Supporters said many residents in Columbus lack a proper ID to meet their basic needs. They hope One ID Columbus can change that.
“My husband is in the process to get the documentation legit with immigration,” said Laura Fuentes, who came to the summit.
She said while her husband works to establish residency in the United States, he can’t have a state ID.
“He has the passport and consulate ID card, but so many places don’t accept that kind of documentation anymore,” said Fuentes.
She said it’s difficult for her husband to prove his identity in the meantime.
“The demand is enormous, and we think the benefits are enormous too,” said Ed Hoffman with One ID Columbus. “Everybody can’t get a state ID, including the undocumented. But, there are other challenges.”
Hoffman said this program doesn’t just focus on immigrants. It also aims to help people who are homeless, victims of domestic abuse and the elderly. He said they often face barriers when trying to get an ID.
“Many times they don’t even know their social security numbers, and that’s one of the reasons that prevents [sic] them to have a driver’s license or formal state ID,” said Josue Vicenté, the executive director of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition.
Supporters said a municipal ID would help connect residents with public services and serve multiple purposes as a library card, pass to city parks and transit, among other things.
“It’s secure and safe, but it’s a little simpler to get,” said Hoffman.
Columbus City Councilman Michael Stinziano said, personally, he supports the cause.
“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,” he said.
Stinziano said city council will continue to discuss this program before drafting a new ordinance or folding it into existing legislation.
The Franklin County Sheriff, three Columbus City Council members and the city attorney were also in attendance at the event.
COLUMBUS, OHIO — Columbus City officials are looking at creating a new photo identification card which could become an alternative to state-issued IDs.
The municipal ID wouldn't replace driver's licenses or other state-issued IDs but supporters of the idea said it could help people who often struggle to get a photo ID like seniors and low-income families.
"It just makes life a bit simpler for people who have trouble getting an ID," said Ed Hoffman with the citizen group One ID Columbus.
New York City was the first city to issue municipal IDs two years ago. One million New Yorkers now have one. They're able to use them to create a bank account, get city services or prove their identity to the police but they cannot use it to register to vote, buy alcohol or travel.
"Sometimes seniors or young people obviously can't get a driver's license," said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council Speaker who helped start the program. "This is a valid form of identification that is accepted only for use within the city of New York."
City leaders in Columbus are still trying to decide if this could work in Central Ohio. The Columbus ID could combine COTA bus passes, library card and other city services into one card.
"We are also very strong in the connections to cultural institutions, museums, the library, possibly in the future transit connections that could simplify all the different ID cards people own and put it into one single ID," said Tom Gearhart with One ID Columbus.
Survivors of domestic violence or homeless people could also get a municipal ID using a PO box. Supporters said it would also be available to undocumented immigrants.
"A program like this would be quick, simple and get them engaged back in our community so they can be looking for employment opportunities, so they can be contributing to our society," said Council Member Michael Stinziano.
Stinziano said the exact cost is still to be determined. Some cities offer the ID for free. He said it's possible some federal money from the Smart Cities Challenge could be used to pay for it.