Letter To House of Representatives Urging a 'No' Vote on the Conference Report on S. 2845 and H.R. 10

Document Date: December 3, 2004

Re: Vote NO on the Conference Report on S. 2845 and H.R. 10

Dear Representative:

This letter is to urge you to vote NO on the conference report on S. 2845 and H.R. 10. The conference report contains provisions to standardize driver's licenses and state identification cards, which would create a de facto national identification card. The attached letters demonstrate that the concerns raised by this provision come from all sides, and deserve greater consideration than has thus far been given.

Supporters of this provision claim it is not a national identification system. However, the apolitical National Research Council disagrees, recognizing that standardized driver's licenses would create a "nationwide identity system."

Supporters also claim this provision is not a national ID because it allows the states to continue to decide who gets driver's licenses and does not mandate a certain format. In actuality, the states will have little practical choice. Because the conference report also states that licenses that fail to conform to the standards after two years may not be used for any federal official purpose, states will not want to run the risk of issuing licenses that their citizens cannot use to board airplanes, enter federal buildings, or obtain federal benefits.

While the costs of implementing such a system will be great, there is little data showing it will be effective in preventing terrorism in the United States. In fact, it appears that national ID cards do little to prevent terrorism. Israel has been one of the top targets of terrorism, yet it has a national ID card with biometric identifiers.

A national ID card would have important implications for privacy, and would fundamentally change the nature of our country. Never before have we been required to "show our papers" within our own country. Despite the dramatic changes this recommendation would make for everyone in the United States, the 9/11 Commission spent less than one page discussing it. Such a change surely requires much greater consideration.

Please review the attached letters, which make more detailed arguments against this provision, and vote NO on the conference report.


Laura W. Murphy
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Marvin J. Johnson
Legislative Counsel

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