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We are asked for photo ID all of the time – entering public buildings, picking our kids up from school, filling a prescription. Yet many of the residents of our Borough face barriers to obtaining government-issued photo ID. Without an ID, residents have had trouble opening a bank account, picking up a package or fear reporting a crime to law enforcement because they lack government issued photo ID. When every resident of our town has access to documentation, we will all be readily identified, feel more secure reporting crimes and will all be safer.
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For many residents, municipal ID cards provide meaningful access to civic and economic life that they simply would not otherwise have. Municipal IDs are identification cards issued by local governments to all local residents. They feature the photo of the cardholder, along with other basic identifying information such as address and date of birth. Although available to all residents of a city, the cards are particularly valuable for the most vulnerable community members—undocumented immigrants, the homeless, foster youth, the elderly, formerly incarcerated individuals, and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.
Currently, the municipalities of Newark, Roselle, Perth Amboy, Paterson, Elizabeth, New Brunswick, Dover, Plainfield, Morristown and Highland Park issue municipal IDs.
Municipal IDs are accepted at any municipal institution, including schools, the police department and municipal court. Many financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, accept municipal IDs as primary or secondary identification to open an account. IDs can help in day to day activities like filling a prescription, picking up a package or applying for a library card. They are not valid for federal purposes, like boarding an airplane, or to obtain a driver’s license in New Jersey. In some cases, they may also provide the cardholder with benefits at local businesses, museums, and entertainment venues.
Municipal IDs do not grant immigrants access to benefits that they do not otherwise qualify for. For example, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for food stamps under federal law. A municipal ID would not change that and a person who is not eligible for food stamps could not use the ID to obtain the benefit.
No, there is not a County ID program for this purpose in Morris County.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission State ID and driver’s license require that applicants complete a rigorous six-point documentation verification, that thousands of Madison residents simply cannot complete because they lack the required documentation. Therefore, the State issued ID is not available to many residents. The Madison ID card will also have a rigorous application process. Applicants must submit proof of identity and residency in Madison, and these documents will be authenticated using state of the art technology. It is critical to preserve the validity of the IDs while also protecting our residents’ privacy. However, the documents accepted to apply for a Madison ID are more flexible and accessible to the vast majority of residents.
In addition to a government-issued photo ID, the Madison ID is a Library Card and grants the cardholder all borrowing privileges to the Madison Public Library. Madison ID cardholders may also receive discounts to local businesses and attractions.
Cardholders have the opportunity to check out books, DVDs and other circulating Library materials. Cardholders also get unlimited daily use of the public computers at the Madison Library; this includes access to language-learning programs, research resources, streaming services and test-prep programs, some of which are available remotely (at home) online as well as at the Library.
Yes. Just bring your library card when you come to your appointment. Congratulations – you are already closer to getting your municipal ID.
Municipal ID cards should be designed, and programs implemented, in such a way as to prevent fraud and misuse. There are three main components to card security: card design, document authentication and penalties for fraud. One of the simplest ways to prevent fraud is by making the card difficult to counterfeit by including holograms or other tamperproof features. Second, staff should be well-trained in document review to authenticate documents. Finally, cities can implement penalties to deter fraud. Notably, there have been almost no instances of suspected fraud in any of the jurisdictions that currently run municipal ID card programs. When New York City released its first quarterly report to the City Council in March 2015, there were only two instances of possible fraud detected among more than 100,000 processed applications for the IDNYC.
Our town is committed to protecting the privacy of all of our residents. Our diversity is our strength and we value every resident of our community. The Madison Municipal ID program has some of the strongest privacy protections in the country. These protections are enshrined in the legislation that established the program. For example, the town will not keep copies of documentation presented to apply for the ID card nor will applicants be asked questions about their immigration status or criminal record.