Kalamazoo County Starts Issuing Local ID Cards

May 3, 2018

The line outside the Kalamazoo County local IDs office on Thursday
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo County is the latest Michigan government to offer a local ID card. Supporters say the IDs will help residents who don’t have state identification to access essential services such as banking and filling a prescription. 

Research shows that many people cannot afford to track down the documents needed for a state ID. Kalamazoo sets a lower bar for proving identity than the state does, and it does not ask about immigration status.

At the office’s official opening on Thursday, Eva Alvarez waited to sign up. Alvarez says she has a state ID. But she suggested that the program won’t succeed if only people who need the cards get them.

“There would probably be a lot of targeted discrimination because they know that it’s a marginalized community that is not able to obtain a state ID directly,” she said.

Antoinette Branson was also waiting to apply.

“I just started work today at Speedway and I need my ID,” she said.

Besides Kalamazoo, Washtenaw County and the City of Detroit issue local identification cards.