Social Security Card Photo Proposal Meets Resistance

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 05:46 PM

By Jason Devaney

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A proposal to add photos to Social Security cards is running into some resistance.

Andrew Young, a former U.N. ambassador, one-term congressman, and civil rights pioneer, last week called for the Obama administration to include photos on the government ID card with the idea of combating voter fraud.

"It's just an idea whose time may have come," Young said. "What we're saying is, everybody's got a Social Security card. But with all of this identity theft going on, it's a good idea to have your picture on it."

Young's plan, which has the support of former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, has plenty of foes.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky blasted the proposal in a Washington Post story.

"This is a really bad idea," Paul said. "The Social Security card is only supposed to be used for Social Security benefits. This idea would make it easy for the federal government to convert the Social Security card into a national identification card."

Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia also opposes Young’s plan, but cites security concerns as his reason.

"I'm very much concerned about that," he told the Post. "There must be a better way. I think we should open up the political process and let everybody in."

Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, was not impressed with the idea either.

"In many states, the voter rolls are public, accessible by anyone," Weiser told Fox News, adding that similar ideas that Congress looked at in the past were "too big a risk.”

Young's idea comes in the wake of renewed calls by Republicans for stricter control of how Americans are able to vote. Because of voter ID fraud, the GOP wants there to be laws in place that require everyone to show an ID before being handed a ballot.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 31 states require people to show some form of ID before voting. Eight states are classified as "strict photo ID" by the NCSL, while another eight are termed "strict non-photo ID." The latter means a voter can vote without a photo ID if he has other documents establishing his identity.

"Voter ID continues to be a high-profile issue in many state legislatures in 2014, although not as active as in the previous three years," the NCSL writes. "In 2013, 30 states considered voter ID legislation. In 2012, legislation was introduced in 32 states. In 2011, 34 states considered voter ID legislation.

"For 2014, 24 states have proposals to create new voter ID requirements, or amend existing voter ID laws."

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