Republican gubernatorial challenger Jeanne Ives joined forces with the City Council’s lone Republican on Monday to oppose allowing Chicago’s “CityKey” municipal identification card to be used to register to vote.
It’s not often that a Chicago alderman, albeit from a Republican-leaning Northwest Side ward, would work with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s more conservative opponent in the Republican gubernatorial primary on any issue.
But that’s what happened Monday when Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) stood with Ives, a state representative from the western suburbs. The two demanded that the “CityKey” ID card — created by the city to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows — be declared off-limits as a form of identification for purposes of registering to vote — and, later, for casting a ballot. Ives has drafted state legislation to do just that, but it has not yet been introduced.
At a news conference in the Loop, Ives noted that Democrats at the federal level have spent the last 14 months “obsessing about Russian meddling” in the 2016 presidential election won by President Donald Trump. Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes those allegations are so serious, he has declared Chicago a “Trump-free zone,” she said.
“So it’s curious to me that those same Chicago Democrats concerned about the possibility of fraud in a presidential election want to encourage such illegality when it comes to local elections,” Ives said.
“That is precisely what Rahm and the City Council are doing with the CityKey ID for persons in this country illegally. Their hypocrisy is breathtaking. Accepting the CityKey as a legitimate form of identification for voter registration is literally suborning voter fraud. And the political class in the sanctuary city of Chicago is brazen about this fact.”
Ives did not go so far as to suggest — as Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson did last month — that Emanuel is “looking for new voters” to replace the African-American voters he lost because of his handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
She simply said that, if Carlson’s allegation is true, “That’s too bad for Rahm. He’s going to have to persuade people who are legal voters.”
Napolitano argued that the city is “documenting undocumented people” by allowing the CityKey ID to be used to register to vote.
“What this is going to do is change elections. Change elections in Chicago. Change elections in the state of Illinois … to entice or encourage people to go register to vote who are illegal immigrants,” he said.
“There should be more safeguard measures. Change the computer. Have it say, `Not documented” or `Status Pending.’ We could put that right on the ID.”
Emanuel was quick to dismiss the Ives-Napolitano tag team.
“She should just take her Trump rhetoric out of the city. It doesn’t reflect our values,” the mayor said.
Chicago Election Board spokesman Jim Allen said the state’s motor voter law “requires us to accept government-issued ID’s when people are registering to vote.”
But Allen said election board officials warned City Clerk Anna Valencia not to market the CityKey ID “as something to use to register to vote because you could get non-citizens to register and they’re gonna be deported.”
“The first item you check on a registration form is a box indicating whether or not you’re a U.S. citizen. And the affirmation at the end of the voter registration form states that you understand that, under penalty of perjury and deportation, if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you’re subject to being removed from the country,” Allen said.
“Who registers and who voted is all public record. ICE, from time to time, requests those records. We give `em. We don’t want non-citizens to register because they’ll be subject to deportation if they vote.”
Valencia announced the controversial decision to accept the CityKey as a “form of identification to register to vote or, in some cases, vote” in a letter to aldermen in mid-February.
“In summary, the Illinois Election Code requires the Board of Elections to accept current, valid photo identification cards and other local governmental documentation that includes an individual’s name and address as proof of identity and residency. The CityKey fits both of these requirements,” Valencia wrote.
“For CityKey holders who choose to not include their address on the card, the CityKey may still be used for voter registration and voting purposes, so long as the voter provides another piece of acceptable identification that shows the voter’s address.”
Napolitano doesn’t buy that explanation. He’s working with a handful of aldermen who have been opposed to the municipal ID from the outset to demand that Valencia return to the City Council to answer questions about the voter registration angle.