Kalamazoo County says it has some details to work out before it can start issuing ID cards to residents. The task force in charge of the program says it needs more time to get its equipment and space in order.
“We still have to get more supplies, we are moving, expanding the clerk’s office to share in the same space where the drain commissioner’s office so work still needs to be done,” Commissioner Tracy Hall said on Tuesday.
The commission approved a local ID program last year. The cards are intended to help people who don’t have a state ID, who often find themselves cut off from essential services such as banking.
People who lack an ID card also sometimes struggle to identify themselves to police. Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller told the commission last summer that individuals who cannot prove their identity and who resemble someone involved in a crime sometimes end up in jail while police work out who they are.
The state sets a high bar for proving identity to receive an ID card, requiring documents that some residents cannot easily access. A person living in poverty who was born in another state will not necessarily be able to travel to get their birth certificate, supporters of a local ID program have said.
Kalamazoo County will accept a wider range of papers from people seeking ID cards than the state.
Applicants for a state ID must also show that they are citizens or legal residents. The Kalamazoo ID program does not concern itself with applicants' immigration status.
Hall says Kalamazoo had hoped to start issuing the cards this month. But she says the program just got its funding on January 1, and she says the rollout has proven complex.
“We’re not nearly as close as we had wanted to be. It just seems like - even seating our advisory board has taken time,” she said.
Hall adds that despite the delay, the county hopes to start issuing the cards in February.