City News

Should Madison offer a city ID card? Some officials think so

The proposed identification cards would include information on gender, age and address.

Image By: Jon Yoon

City officials are looking to the Madison community for input on a local identification card program.

Officials released a survey this week gauging participation and what residents would like to see on an identification card. The program is primarily focused on “trying to reach populations that could benefit from having an ID,” said Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes.

The municipal ID program would provide those who don’t have a government-provided photo ID with access to tasks such as acquiring a library card, opening a bank account and buying a bus pass. However, they would not serve as a valid driver’s license or allow the cardholder to vote.

The cards would include a photograph of the recipient. Additional proposed details include gender, age and address.

Wisconsin lawmakers passed legislation in 2005 making only legal residents and U.S. citizens eligible for driver’s licenses. Those who don’t fall under these requirements or citizens who feel they are misrepresented by their current identification — such as the city’s homeless, transgender and immigrant populations — could benefit from the cards.

While the city is undecided on specific applicant qualifications, they have stated that future cardholders will have to pay a fee and be 14 years or older. Cities that offer similar programs, including Chicago, San Francisco and New Haven, require proof of residency to acquire an identification card.

Milwaukee began a similar ID program in July 2016. After one year, the city reported that the IDs have been a success.

The program would likely be implemented in 2018. 

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