To: Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners

Support Washtenaw County's efforts to institute a county-wide ID available to all members of our ...

Tens of thousands of our neighbors can’t access a library book; are restricted from making doctor's appointments for their children, and are afraid to report a crime; all because they lack a photo ID. It’s estimated that 11% of all US citizens lack a photo ID. In Washtenaw County, that's over 38,000 people.

Why is this important?

Those of us who have a driver’s license often do not realize that a substantial number of people in our community are excluded from civic life because they are unable to access a State ID or driver’s license. Some of the obstacles encountered include: difficulty making medical appointments and inability to prove identity for employment, interactions with law enforcement officials, and to open bank accounts.

Motivated by values of inclusion that dictate embracing and officially acknowledging the Washtenaw County residents who lack photo identification cards, the Washtenaw County ID (WCID) Task Force has come together to oversee the creation of a local solution: a county-wide photo identification.

Our Vision
We envision a county where all people are treated with dignity and respect and given the means to participate meaningfully in community life. This includes having community services that are accessible to all Washtenaw County residents. In addition to this, we want to see our county as a place where public health and safety services are viewed as helpful and non-threatening. Currently law enforcement is detaining individuals because of lack of photo identification. In our county, we want everyone to have the means to prove who they are regardless of income, race, gender identity, and citizenship status.

We the undersigned are concerned citizens who support our County leaders in making photo identification cards available to all Washtenaw County residents.

Personal Account
A Public Health Outreach Worker contacted WICIR when 3 families of new born infants at the U of M Hospital could not get affidavits of parentage to include the unmarried father’s name. This was directly due to the parents having had expired driver’s licenses and could not produce current state driver’s license, state ID or passport to prove their identities to receive a notarized affidavit by the hospital vital records department. At the County Clerk level, they are having the same problem in that they cannot get copies of their infants' birth certificates because they cannot produce the same updated state identification of passport.

Our Strategy
Our plan of action to achieve our goal of printing a county-wide photo ID includes:
• Present our petition to the County Commissioners at a public meeting.
• Demonstrate wide-spread sentiment.
• Build a base of supporters.
• Implement program by the end of 2014.
• Obtain 5,000 signatures of Washtenaw County residents by May 15, 2014.

Washtenaw County ID Task Force Members:
Yousef Rabhi, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners
Sheriff Jerry Clayton, Washtenaw County Sheriff Department
Lawrence Kestenbaum, Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office
Catherine McClary, Washtenaw County Treasurer
Paul Schreiber, Mayor of Ypsilanti
Ricky Jefferson, Ypsilanti City Council Member
Jim Dries, Chief Deputy Clerk/Registrar
Melody Cox, Washtenaw County Clerk/Registrar Assistant
Casa Latina
Shelter Association of Washtenaw County
Synod Community Services
Thomas M. Cooley Law School Immigration Clinic
Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)