Controversial Chicago ID card now available to homeless, undocumented immigrants & others

By Juliette Rocheleau
Medill Reports

A new program allows Chicago residents to register for a city-issued ID card. The completely optional card is aimed at “unlocking” the city by breaking down barriers to attaining government-issued photo ID, regardless of housing or citizenship status. The card also allows residents to choose male, female or nonbinary gender markers, or to leave gender off the card entirely.

In February while the card was in a pilot period, City Clerk Anna Valencia said that as a government-issued ID, the card could be used by citizens to register to vote. CityKey policy opponents worried that this would lead to a rise in voter fraud. When Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson brought the subject up, the issue gained national attention.

“I was getting calls from the media from all over- from Florida and other places!” said Illinois State Board of Elections information officer Matt Dietrich. According to Dietrich, he does not see the CityKey policy leading to increased voter fraud due to parameters put in place to prevent this felony, including the signed admission that you are a citizen completed upon registering to vote.

CityKey cards are now available via mobile printers housed by community partners around the city. More information can be found on the CityKey website here.

Photo at top: Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, whose office is responsible for overseeing the policy’s implementation, discusses the card. (Juliette Rocheleau/MEDILL)