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Hundreds flock to get Chicago-issued ID cards in first week

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Thursday, May 10, 2018  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Chicago Mayor (16) , Chicago (16) , Immigration (99a)
Hundreds of Chicagoans are picking up their city-issued identification cards in the first week of a new program that allows residents to have the IDs regardless of immigration status.

In the announcement of the availability of the Chicago’s CityKey cards, City Clerk Anna Valencia said it would give the security of having a government-issued ID as well as a way to navigate public transportation.

“It will truly unlock opportunities and allow access for all Chicagoans,” she said.

The city issued 500 cards on the first day alone and 300 more since, according to Valencia Spokeswoman Kate Lefurgy.

“There's clearly a demand for the CityKey and Chicago residents are very excited about the program,” Lefurgy said Tuesday.

The card acts as not only a valid government ID but also as a public transit ticket that can be charged with funds as well as a discount card to various businesses and public attractions across the city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city plans to add things like prescription drug benefits to the card.

“The goal here is to bring the city together in an initiative across the city that benefits everyone, not just some,” he said.

The first 100,000 cards issued will be free of charge. After that, adults will pay $10 for a card and children will pay $5 with exceptions for veterans and low-income residents. Adult cards will expire in five years while children issued cards will have to renew every two. Senior-issued cards don’t expire.

The city is offering two to three events per week through June in neighborhoods across the city in an effort to make them more available.

“We’re going to go out into the neighborhoods and communities and use all branches and all resources to make sure people sign up,” Emanuel said.

Valencia confirmed that CityKey cards will be accepted as identification when voting, creating concerns about the possibility of voter fraud. An official with the state Board of Elections said it’s incumbent upon the election authority to police voter fraud.

Critics, including some city aldermen, also said the $1 million in city funding to pay for the program was a waste of taxpayer dollars.