Chicago ID card would be valid voter identification
Municipal ID cards that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is launching for undocumented immigrants and others will be a valid form of identification for people both registering to vote and voting in Chicago, according to a letter aldermen received Friday.
Clerk Anna Valencia, who’s heading up the CityKey program, cited state election rules to explain why the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will accept the card.
“The Illinois Election Code requires the Board of Elections to accept current, valid photo identification cards and other local governmental documentation that includes an individual’s name and address, as proof of identity and residency,” Valencia’s letter reads in part. “The CityKey fits both of these requirements.”
The municipal ID is not yet available to the general public, but Valencia has said it will be in the spring. Most aldermen voted in favor of the program, which is viewed in City Hall circles as a way for Emanuel to boost his standing with Hispanic voters and immigrant rights supporters as he preps a 2019 re-election bid.
But a handful of City Council members are vehemently opposed to the cards. Northwest Side Ald. Nick Sposato, 38th, said he was “beyond disappointed” Valencia opted to make the cards a valid ID for voting.
Sposato pointed out the city is not planning to keep any of the background information applicants provide to establish their home addresses, so undocumented immigrants aren’t afraid federal immigration agents can use the data to track them down.
“I’m not sure of the validity of this,” Sposato said. “They may not have citizenship. Voter fraud would be my biggest concern.”
And far Northwest Side Ald. Anthony Napolitano, who like Sposato represents a ward that’s home to lots of city workers, called on Valencia to appear before aldermen to explain why she thinks it’s appropriate to use the ID for voting.
“This was portrayed to us as a way for people to get basic services,” said Napolitano, 41st. “This is exactly what we were concerned about and we raised those concerns with the clerk. I know I have colleagues who would not be on board with this.
City Council Latino Caucus Chairman Ald. Gilbert Villegas said he doesn’t foresee the municipal ID leading to widespread fraud.
“It’s not changing the state law, and there’s nothing stopping someone from getting a fake ID now and going to try to vote,” said Villegas, 36th.