Councilmember Harrell to Explore Seattle Municipal ID Cards

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Councilmember Bruce Harrell 

Councilmember Harrell to Explore Seattle Municipal ID Cards

SEATTLE Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the City of Seattle exploring the idea of creating a program that will make voluntary municipal identification cards available to all city residents:

"There can be serious barriers to acquire a Washington State Identification Card for some residents, and without ID, people can face challenges in accessing important services. I think it is well-passed time to explore the creation of a municipal ID card program.  Cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Haven, CT have implemented programs, and, if we work closely with the ACLU to address privacy concerns, we could have a successful program in here in Seattle, too.

"A municipal ID card can provide a much more affordable and easier pathway for residents from diverse communities to succeed and more efficiently access critical services. I’ll be working with the Mayor, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, ACLU and the public to determine whether a municipal ID card program is right for Seattle, and, if so, how we can make it successful.  Some of the benefits include:

  1. The identification card would be accepted as proof of identity by all City agencies, as well as other institutions within the City of Seattle.
  2. The implementation of the municipal ID Program could gain thousands of Seattle residents easier access in obtaining library cards, furthering education, getting medical help, cashing a check, signing leases, finding employment or opening a bank account.
  3. The identification card would allow many of Seattle’s most vulnerable residents such as immigrants and refugees, the elderly, the homeless and members of the transgender community better access to participating in civic life.
  4. The identification card will allow members of the immigrant and refugee community to gain greater confidence and feel more comfortable when seeking assistance from law enforcement.

"There is an exciting opportunity here, and if done right, a municipal ID card program could empower more Seattleites to succeed. I look forward to exploring the opportunities and pitfalls in the coming months to determine whether or how we can make this program a reality in Seattle."

The concept of a Seattle Municipal ID Card system will be discussed at the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee meeting on Wednesday July 16, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

[View in Council Newsroom]