Bob Gabler asks: Given the current opposition to requiring photo IDs to vote, would you kindly research and publish the names of facilities currently requiring photo IDs to enter, e.g. Federal buildings, commercial aircraft, etc. Other than driver’s licenses, what other common forms of photo ID are available at little or no cost? To first provide a little background for those who have not been following this: the U. S. Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, on April 28 to uphold a 2005 Indiana law requiring voters to show photo ID in order to cast ballots. The law has drawn praise from Republicans as a means to combat voter fraud, but Democrats say that the measure is just a ploy to keep minorities and the elderly from the polls, thus reducing the Democratic turnout. Indiana has now officially joined the ranks of Florida and Georgia – the only other states that currently require voters to show government-issued photo IDs at the polls. Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are considering following suit, but it may not come to fruition before the November elections. Democrats fear that numerous other states will join in, now that the Supreme Court has upheld Indiana’s law. As for your first question, Mr. Gabler, the only places I could pin down that now require photo ID to enter are numerous public schools including Humble ISD, many college campus buildings including NYU and Harvard, NASA, the Pentagon and virtually all airport terminals. Many corporations also require photo ID to enter their buildings. For the second question, alternate, acceptable photo ID that is cheaper or about the same as a driver’s license would be military ID. Other forms, as far as I can tell, would not be acceptable when government-issued photo ID is required. A passport is a good alternate form of photo ID, but certainly is more costly than a license. REAL ID Act And to carry the photo ID issue a bit further, based upon recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, Congress put forth the REAL ID Act. This measure, said to require government-issued photo ID to enter all Federal buildings, airports and more, was set to go into effect nationwide on Monday. The purpose, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Web site, is to reduce the risk of terroristic attacks. The DHS site states: “The REAL ID Act requires that a REAL ID driver’s license be used for ‘official purposes,’ as defined by DHS. In the proposed rule, DHS is proposing to limit the official purposes of a REAL ID license to those listed by Congress in the law: accessing a Federal facility; boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft; and entering nuclear power plants. DHS may consider expanding these official purposes through future rulemakings to maximize the security benefits of REAL ID.” To comply with the REAL ID Act, states will be required to meet the Government’s common guidelines when issuing future driver’s licenses and ID cards. Does DHS support an extension of the May 2008 deadline? Does DHS think that States will be ready? * DHS understands that the states are concerned about the tight timeline required to comply with the REAL ID Act. The Secretary and other DHS officials have discussed this matter with various Governors. Since DHS wants all states to be able to comply with the Act, DHS has setup a procedure in the NPRM for states to obtain extensions until December 31, 2009. DHS expects states that have been granted an extension to begin issuing compliant licenses no later than January 1, 2010, in most cases with a roll-out of licenses as they expire. What does a State have to do and when does it have to do it? * States that need an extension from DHS should file a request by February 1, 2008, though States are encouraged to inform DHS of its intention to request an extension as soon as October 1, 2007. DHS can grant an extension through December 31, 2009. A State that is complying with the REAL ID Act must begin issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and identification cards no later than May 11, 2008. However, states that have been granted an extension will be required to issue compliant licenses and identification cards no later than January 1, 2010. All licenses and identification cards held by individuals from a state must be compliant by May 10, 2013. Is this a National ID card? No. The proposed regulations establish common standards for States to issue licenses. The Federal Government is not issuing the licenses, is not collecting information about license holders, and is not requiring States to transmit license holder information to the Federal Government that the Government does not already have (such as a Social Security number). Most states already routinely collect the information required by the Act and the proposed regulations. * Information taken directly from the Department of Homeland Security’s Web site. To find out more, visit the site at Is there something you want to know but just don’t have time to research? Ask away ... I’ll do my best to do the research for you. Please send your questions to Patsy Oliver at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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