National Driver's Licence

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have a national driver’s license at this point? That way we could make sure that you only hold a license from one state at a time. That would make it easier to track voter registration. The license could have info on whether you are a citizen or what your immigration status is.

I know states rights, blah, blah, but pragmatically it seems it would make things much easier. Pilot’s licenses are issues by the Federal govt, right?

And… exactly what’s the upside? So far, you haven’t actually shown any significant benefit for doing so. I am highly dubious of the federal government’s ability to actually regulate 300 million driver’s licenses any better than the states, where people actually do go to vote.

Edit: And then there’s the fact that legally the license and voting have nothing to do with one another.

The upside is that we have a generally accepted ID with uniform standards. Driver’s licenses are used for all sorts of non-driving purposes like boarding airplanes, proving identity when voting, and buying alcohol. Adding immigration status would be trivial and would help employers determine if a worker is legal. It’s silly to think that bartenders, personel, and security people know how to identify a valid ID from 50 different states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.

The federal govt already issues SS cards and passports, so I don’t think it’s much of a problem to handle the volume of licenses. Does California have a worse DMV than Montana?

Totally in opposition to the political beliefs I generally embrace, I’m totally in favor of a national ID/DL type thing. It could (and should) still be issued and maintained by the state (the Feds should not be involved in yanking a DL for excessive tickets or whatever). This isn’t 1970 when a database of that size would be inconceivable, but trusting the gubmint to have decent security on it would be an issue. They probably shouldn’t have too much information associated with the ID, but knowing our Feds they’d link everything including tax returns to it…
But a consistent & well regulated form of identification that wouldn’t puzzle bartenders while on vacation, that incorporated some type of anti-counterfeiting measure, etc. I think would not be an affront to civil liberties.

A non-drivers license ID should be issued free of charge one time (or upon expiration, say every 10 years or so), replacements could carry a nominal fee.

My libertarian associates are probably lining up to lynch me by now :smiley:

Dear Dan:

I am a citizen of the United States of America, entitled to vote, buy alcohol (being over 21 by nearly four decades), etc., by the fact of having been born here. (Siege represents the other aspect, in that, while raised here, she was born in the U.K. and became naturalized.)

I do not need to prove that to anybody; it’s guaranteed me in the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

If you can advance some valid reason why such a measure might be needed, then it might pass constitutional muster. The convenience of the TSA, police departments, and other functionaries, does not constitute sufficient reason to mandate one.

If you think there should be a standardized federal form for identificaiton issued by the states to people voluntarily seeking it, e.g., to certify their being licensed to operat a motor vehicle or their desire to have a valid state-issued form of identification to show bouncers, check cashers, etc., then propose just that – Federal DOT or someone to set up national standards and enable the states to conform their licenses to it.

But if you plan to require me to have one to vote, or to show to a cop when he takes a mind to stop me (presume me not to be operating a motor vehicle at this point), then you’re heading for a Statist state that I object strongly to.

This is a bit of a leap, isn’t it? Strawman and all that. OP did not say anything about “showing your papers” on demand, nor even requiring ID to vote.

Besides, everyone I know over the age of 16, and more than a few under 16, currently have at least one state-issued form of ID.

For all those who are for it, what do you do about the differences from state to state in regards to driving regulations? For example, California’s drivers licenses are all provisional for people under 18, whereas in Wyoming you can get a full driver’s license at 16 1/2 with proper completion of certain training requirements.

We already have several generally accepted ID’s with uniform standards.

I ask again, what is the actual gain here. Your thesis, as best as I can make out, is “lets have one big bureaucracy reaching everywhere to mess things up than a bunch of small ones.”

Each state has a unique “culture”, if you will. The collective attitude of people in Mississippi is not the same as that of those in Massachusetts. The same can be said of California and South Dakota, Michigan and Arizona, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam.

A national DL would be just another stake in the heart of states rights. Driving laws, drivers licensing regulations, drinking ages, seat belt & helmet laws, speed limits, etc. should all be determined by each state and the people whom reside there, per the 10th Amendment.

Dear Poly,

You certainly are indignant, but it is absolutely the case that there are times you need to show your citizenship or immigration status. These include registering to vote, applying for a passport, and getting a job. Some states require you to show ID when voting to prove that you are the person registered to vote.

We can continue to use a combination of social security card, birth certificate, passport, green card, and drivers licenses for these purposes or we could try and streamline things and have a single ID that can serve multiple purposes.

I was lucky to have a passport when I got my last job; otherwise I would have had to come up with my social security card and birth certificate. I have no idea where those are. On the other hand, I have my driver’s license with me at all times.

I think we could institute a uniform ID in a manner that does not require a “papers please” police state.

Each region of a state has it’s own culture as well. Portland, Oregon has more in common with Seattle, Washington than it does with eastern Oregon. Maybe each city should issue passports and driver’s licenses.

That is classic propaganda technique of using “charged words”. I could just as easily say I want one streamlined method of issuing IDs rather than lots of small bureauchracies to mess things up.

Presenting ID to the TSA prior to boarding a commercial aircraft isn’t a matter of convenience, it’s a requirement you must meet in order to be allowed on. If you don’t have ID, you can scream 14th Amendment till you’re blue in the face, but you ain’t getting on that plane.

People don’t travel internationally as “citizens of Glenbeulah” or any other Village/Town/City so knock off the passport argument.

Also, Villages/Towns/Cities/counties don’t set drivers license regulations (like how many tickets one may get before being suspended, revoked, spanked, etc.) so there goes your argument on that.

There are valid arguments for a national I.D. card, but you aren’t making them. If you wish to debate that there should be no state government and everything should be decided at the local or national level, fine, but then start a separate thread on that then.

Well you seem to concede my point then; the reason things are done at the state level is not because of “similar culture”.

Yes, states set policy on when driver’s licenses can be suspended, etc., but why? It seems to be just a historical reason. I imagine in the NYC metro area a million people a day drive across state borders. Around Boston people routinely commute from New Hampshire and Rhode Island. In Portland we are building a new bridge to handle rush hour traffic between Washington and Oregon. I’m not sure why exactly I should be happy that Washington State decides whether their residents can legally drive in Oregon.

I don’t want to do away with the state level of government, but on the other hand I don’t think that we should continue doing things because we have always done them that way.

Driver’s licenses, for good or bad, have become the most common form of ID in this country and I’d like us to look at ways to make them better.

Good grief how HARD is it to register to vote? They should stop the voter registration to license. My DL has an address I haven’t lived at since 1986. My voter registration is current.

But seriously everyone who wants to drive manages to get their butt down to the DMV. If they want to vote they would.

You’re equating drivers licenses w/I.D… While drivers licenses are used as I.D., the regulation of driving as compared to anything else is just not the same.

Why don’t you just open a thread debating a national I.D. card and end this silliness?

I did. You just said that driver’s licenses are used as ID and I am advocating that they be issued nationally.

That’s your problem.

Out of idle curiousity, how did you get a passport without a birth certificate?

Well I got my first passport 40 years ago when I knew where my birth certificate was. For the subsequent ones I used my old passport.

The funny thing is that birth certificates are pretty worthless. They don’t have pictures (for obvious reasons) and anyone can request a copy, they are easy to forge, and have no uniform standards.