Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis today proposed a “driving privilege card” that would allow illegal immigrants and others to get a state-issued, photo ID card enabling them to drive and get insurance.
Denis’s announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Brian Sandoval‘s support of drivers licenses for illegal immigrant youths who are eligible for work privileges under President Barack Obama‘s DREAM Act deferments.
Denis told the Las Vegas Sun‘s Anjeanette Damon that driving privileges would encourage illegal immigrants to get insurance, which increases safety for all motorists. “This really is an issue about safety. We’ve had a lot of hit-and-runs that occur because of individuals driving without a license,” Denis told the Sun.
(You see where this is going, right?)
Meanwhile, Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey — who says he’s considering supporting licenses for DREAM Act deferments — wondered aloud why Denis would support a driving privilege card for illegal immigrants, but at the same time be against a program to use drivers-license photos to verify identity at the polls.
Denis, after all, came out against a plan by Secretary of State Ross Miller that would marry the drivers license and state ID card database to the polling book, allowing election workers to compare you to your photo already on record with the state. Nobody would need to present their ID card to vote, and those without a photo could still vote if they agreed to be photographed at the polls.
“On one hand, Democrats are proposing photo IDs for illegal residents in Nevada in order to make our roads safer,” Hickey said in a statement. “If photo IDs are a good idea for illegal residents on our highways, then they should also be a good idea for legal ones in our voting booths.”
Now, Democrats argue that voting fraud in which one person impersonates another to vote is extremely rare, and that the cost of implementing Miller’s photo ID plan (estimated to be as much as $20 million) isn’t justified. “It’s a problem that doesn’t exist,” Denis said last week about Miller’s idea. Meanwhile, the cost of liability insurance because of uninsured motorists is a real and demonstrated problem.
But Miller argues that using existing drivers license and ID photos will add a layer of security and confidence to the voting process, just as Republicans might argue Denis’s idea would add a layer of security and confidence for drivers (who would, we presume, know that other drivers are carrying insurance in case of an accident).
Something tells me we have not heard the last of this meme!
(A final note: Under Denis’s idea, which is borrowed from Utah, a “driving privilege card” would not be the equivalent of a drivers license, in the sense that it could not be used as proof of identity. The standards for issuing a driving privilege card would be lower — a driving test — than for getting a drivers license. And a person presumably could not use a driving privilege card as a way to register or cast a vote.)