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National ID Card in the News Again

By E. Ralph Hostetter   |   Wednesday, 30 Apr 2008 10:10 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 28 gave its blessing to an Indiana voter ID law that had passed the Hoosier legislature and had been signed into law in April 2005, some three years ago.

This legislation, at the time, gave Indiana the strictest voter ID requirements in the nation.

The usual suspects, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, a branch of the infamous ACLU, brought suit and forced a delay awaiting word from the High Court.

Monday’s Supreme Court decision is a major breakthrough for the guaranteed use of photographs required as identification in the many accepted checkpoints in the nation from check cashing at banks to entry into airports.

In spite of the fact that some 73 percent of polled Indianans favored the photo ID, the ACLU was successful in petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for the three-year delay.

Now that the photo ID issue is back in the forefront, a review of past discussions regarding a national foolproof, tamperproof ID card may be in order.

1. The national part of the registration has already been done. Every worker in America is required to have a Social Security account and number in order to accept employment. That's the law. Without hiring tens of thousands of people to start another bloated government bureaucracy, simply, your Social Security number becomes your ID number.

Today your Social Security number is required extensively from opening bank accounts to receiving dividends, interest, credit card information, other financial transactions and numerous other purposes. It has already been accepted universally as identification.

In order to separate your ID number from your Social Security account, an asterisk would appear at the end of your Social Security number on your photo ID card, much as the letters A and B appear on your Medicare card.

Powerful computers in a separate facility from the present Social Security offices would house the Citizen ID Center, thus assuring that personal Social Security account information would not be compromised.

Computers would be used for verification of the photo ID card when presented for any reason.

Agencies requiring verification of photo ID cards, such as police and other government authorities, will be provided with electronic readers similar to credit card readers which will provide instant verification on the spot where it is needed.

As with your driver’s license, the card would be carried with you at all times and would require renewal with a new photo every 10 years.

2. The physical part of the document registration will be simple. It will be handled by the local voting registration office with additional temporary help plus camera equipment. Each Social Security card holder would appear at the voter polling place in his voting district with his social security card and proof of his citizenship in the form of a birth certificate, a registered U.S. passport or naturalization certificate.

Additional information such as fingerprints for positive identification would be required to be placed in a magnetic strip on the back of the new photo ID card.

3. Green card holders would be issued a separate type of card.

4. All persons over 65 years of age and under 16 years of age would be exempt in the first registration. All younger persons reaching the age of 16 would be required to register on their 16th birthday.

No privacy issues, at least no more than are involved in the issuance of a driver’s license, will be involved. This is also the normal procedure required for the ordinary U.S. citizen when applying for a passport.

Basically, what is being accomplished is adding your photograph to your Social Security card with proof of citizenship.

There will be no connection between your confidential Social Security account and your photo ID card. Records of your ID card will be recorded and kept in separate computers in separate buildings on separate sites.

The authority of the photo ID card will be riveted to the United States Social Security system, America’s principal information base with its reputation for confidentiality for nearly three-quarters of a century.

Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and agricultural publisher, also is a national and local award-winning columnist.

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