What’s Behind Chicago’s CityKey ID Card, and Is It a Blessing or a Curse?

From the City Club of Chicago, April 30, 2018 — a panel of critics and supporters discusses the adoption of a new form of identification, called the CityKey card ID that was pushed by Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s administration. Critics have questioned whether this is being used to allow illegal aliens to vote in city and state elections.

The City’s administration denies this, and says it is going to accomplish a number of positive features for citizens of the city, but won’t give aliens the right to vote.

On May 1, 2018 — the first day the CityKey was issued, 500 residents signed up to get one.

This information was provided on a City of Chicago website to explain its uses.

1. What is a Chicago Municipal ID card? The Chicago Municipal ID card was established to bring Chicago together as one community. It will enable Chicagoans to obtain an optional, valid, government-issued ID that they can then use to access a range of services from both the private and public sectors. The City of Chicago is currently exploring a range of benefits, from discounts at cultural institutions to connecting with pharmacies as part of the program.

2. Who can apply for one?  All Chicagoans who display documents to establish proof of identity and residency in Chicago will have access to getting a Municipal ID card.

3. Who will accept it?  All City of Chicago departments will accept the Chicago Municipal ID card as proof of identification. We are still working with other partners to determine who else will accept the card and to ensure that residents who obtain the card receive a wide array of benefits.

4. Why should I get one?  No one is required to obtain a Chicago Municipal ID card – it is an optional service offered to Chicago residents. The City’s goal is to offer enough benefits and incentives through the program that all Chicago residents would want to obtain one. In addition to being an ID card that will be accepted by City departments, we are also exploring the exciting opportunities to have the card offer discounts and other benefits.

5. Where can I get Municipal ID card? We are working with community groups and neighborhood organizations to determine where we will administer the cards. Our goal is to make them accessible to all communities across Chicago. The City of Chicago is committed to issuing its first Chicago Municipal ID cards by the end of 2017.

6. What type of benefits will be associated with the Municipal ID card? We are currently working with cultural institutions, sports teams, pharmacies, local chambers of commerce and community organizations to explore potential discounts and partnerships. Let us know if you have an idea or if your organization is interested in partnering by sending us an email at cityclerk@cityofchicago.org(link sends e-mail) or sharing your ideas on social media using the hashtag #YourCityYourClerk.

7. How can I be sure that my information will be safe? Protecting people’s security is our number one priority. Drawing upon the best practices of other cities that have implemented municipal ID programs, Chicago will establish a program that captures minimal information from applicants. The Chicago Municipal ID will be a secure card and Chicago will take every precaution it can to protect each applicant’s data to the maximum extent permitted by law.