“It’s about protecting us all.” That slogan appears on a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission brochure, which explains how to get a state-issued photo ID card. In actuality, New Jersey’s façade of protection has done just the opposite: it has failed to protect the liberties guaranteed to Americans. New Jersey requires that applicants for a photo ID provide “6 points of identification,” including forms of identification for multiple categories and proof of address. While there are several types of documents accepted, some are only used in certain circumstances. For instance, a marriage certificate can only be used to demonstrate a change in name; it cannot be used for any other identification category. Additionally, students may use a school ID but not if they have been out of school for over two years. Under these strict conditions, it is entirely possible that New Jersey employers would break the law if they hire natural-born US citizens who cannot obtain a photo ID. From the mailbag of the Identity Project, an anonymous writer reveals that disqualified applicants include young people, the poor, high school dropouts, and some women, who do not change their name upon marriage and lack utility bills in their name. This writer was born and raised in New Jersey, but she falls into these categories; therefore, she does not have enough documentation to get an ID. Because she cannot get a state-issued photo ID, she is denied many freedoms. She cannot get hired. She cannot drive or travel by plane. She cannot take the GED. She cannot apply for Social Security. She cannot even buy her child or herself nasal decongestant, since the state requires a photo ID check to purchase pseudoephedrine. New Jersey has created the strictest photo ID program in the country. The state decided to go forward with these tough requirements because several of the 9/11 attackers were able to obtain driver’s licenses from New Jersey. These standards are so strict that even natural-born citizens are ineligible to get a state-issued photo ID. New Jersey alleges to be “protecting us all,” but as the Identity Project suggests, such policies may be doing more harm than good. Are we really stopping people with malicious intentions from carrying out misdeeds because they cannot obtain a photo ID at the DMV? By claiming to “protect” us, the state of New Jersey is really just instilling in us a false sense of security.
/ / The real effects of photo ID requirements
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