I disagree with Hightower.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

ID requirements

I think that if there is a benefit or right administered by the government, then the person receiving that benefit or right should have to prove that they meet the specification and requirements.  That seems self evident to me.  I would make one small adjustment in the case of identification to implement a constitutional right (like voting).  In that situation the government needs to provide a cost free way for a citizen to get a usable ID.    Otherwise it would be a poll tax.

I don't see any reason for waiting for "rampant abuse" to implement it.  You are required to carry a driver's license.  Why? Because it is a reasonable requirement for safety.  We don't calculate how many people do not carry a driver's license when we authorize the police to demand one of a driver.

Also we have quite properly required that people who work here should be here legally = citizen, green card, or worker's permit.  ( It is not widely known, but Obama has been enforcing that law more than Bush 43 did.  The bad news is that we don't enforce it harshly enough on the employers so they keep ignoring it. )  Confirmation of legal status is something that everyone (citizen or not) should have to present when seeking employment.  The government should facilitate an easy way for the employer to e-verify each person's legal status here.  If we did that most of the immigration problem will go away.

When I applied for SS and Medicare they required all sorts of forms and identification.  It took well over a day to get it all done.  When I get in my car I make sure I have my drivers license.  When I go to vote I make sure I have a picture ID even though most of the time they recognize me and I don't need it.  To require that I do those things is not oppression it is simple administration.

What I do have a problem with is a law that would require an ID for "existence" that is for walking around.  That is the one that some of the folks (eg AZ) who are worried about immigration slip into.  They seem to think that they can solve some problem by requiring "all non citizens to carry papers".  They don't seem to understand that for that to work it would require that every citizen also carry papers because otherwise if someone doesn't have papers you still don't know whether he is an undocumented alien or just a citizen without papers.  Don't misunderstand me.  When I am in a foreign country I keep my passport close at hand and I do not feel like they are oppressing me.  They have a right to require that.  We have a right to require that too.  But I hope we won't.  I hope that we continue to say:  "That is not who we are."


  1. I agree, I think. Would this model embrace/reject/obviate the concept of “sanctuary cities”?

  2. I have wondered about the issue you raised in your first paragraph. Do the states with voter ID laws provide acceptable ID free of charge? If not, what types of IDs are typically acceptable?

    I recall hearing (from a cable news pundit, I believe - potentially trustworthy) something about a state who wouldn't accept a college ID but did allow hunting licenses. I don't remember the state nor pundit, and a cursory Google search didn't get me my answer. Perhaps someone knows more about this.

  3. Dan, this site has some good information on assistance available to potential voters