News Analysis Aug 21, 2021 1:10 PM EST

NYC councilman says vaccine ID is important to prevent fraud, but voter ID is 'civil rights violation'

It has been odd to see the same factions that oppose voter ID requirements as discriminatory and racist claim that vaccine IDs are perfectly valid and acceptable.

NYC councilman says vaccine ID is important to prevent fraud, but voter ID is 'civil rights violation'
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

It has been odd to see the same factions that oppose voter ID requirements as discriminatory and racist claim that vaccine IDs are perfectly valid and acceptable. There is no reasonable ethical set of values that can underpin both the restriction against voter ID and uphold voter ID laws for vaccine passes. The demand that the public consider voter ID problematic but see vaccine ID as acceptable is straight-up propaganda.

Supporters of vaccine passports have taken great pains to normalize the concept of showing government-issued paperwork and showing a photo ID to access public spaces such as restaurants, music venues, and sporting events. There have been comparisons made between drivers' licenses and showing ID to board planes, but one comparison that has not been forthcoming on the side of the vaxx pass advocates are those to voter ID requirements.

New York City Councilman Mark D. Levine is one of these advocates. He came out on Friday to say explain that Mayor Bill de Blasio's new "Key to NYC" needs to be accompanied by a photo ID to prevent fraud.

"Oh," said pretty much every conservative on Twitter, from The Federalist's Sean Davis to Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley's press secretary Abigail Marone, "ID's prevent fraud? Ya don't say!"

Levine told New Yorkers that "NYC's new vaccination screening program for indoor dining etc requires that you show proof of vax *and* ID." He said that "The ID requirement is to help reduce fraud. Venues covered by the vax screening program are required to check ID for those 18+. Checking ID for 12+ is optional. The NYC Covid Safe app allows you to upload a picture of your ID if you don't want to carry it."

And he told New Yorkers how they could get an ID should they need one. There are non-driver IDs available that cost $9 and are good for four years—eight years if you pay $13—and the New York specific IDNYC is both free and available to undocumented, illegal residents of the city.

Somehow, despite all this access to IDs, and the requirement that a photo ID be presented before a person can move freely about the city, there are many in New York who oppose laws that would require a person to show an ID when voting.

Levine is among those who oppose voter ID laws. In 2015, he said: "Finally a court rules that voter ID law is a civil rights violation. Sadly too late to undo damage done in 2014 elex." Levine does not appear to believe that it's a civil rights violation to require people to undergo medical treatments, and then prove they have done by evidencing both with a government-issued card with the further verification of a photo ID. Even though this is a far more invasive violation, and the limitations against those who won't comply are incredibly restrictive.

Perhaps for Levine and those who are willing to demand that citizens pony up their IDs to prove they match their vaxx pass but don't feel they should do so to vote, they believe that their concern is driven by public health concerns. If Levine is concerned about counterfeit vaccine passports, or that people will simply use someone else's vaccine passport to gain entry into public spaces, he understands exactly the concerns that many have as regards voting.

Those who primarily comprise the unvaccinated in New York are black New Yorkers. Democrats' complaint against voter ID laws is allegedly due their concerns that black people won't be able to obtain an ID. Apparently, that concern disappears entirely when the demand comes to submit photo ID's to engage in public life, enter public institutions like museums, eat out, and countless other activities that New Yorkers, black and white, assumed was their right in a free and open society.

It's confusing to watch these contradictions roll out from politicians, activists and the people who shout at us to shut up on social media. They are happy to demand ID when they worry about fraud in the realm of public health, but not in the realm of voting.

But it's supposed to be confusing because once we abandon logic, we are powerless. The public is meant to blindly accept contradictions, to not question the obvious discrepancies, and to instead trust the elites and experts that repeat these nonsensical talking points and demand our ignorant acquiescence.

Once we give up our questions and simply do as we are told, we will be a much more manageable populace, and that is, of course, the point. These kinds of overwhelming inconsistencies are the point: accepting the inconsistencies emitted by the powerful gives them more power. Instead, we must question authority, question the authoritarians, and refuse to comply with their mandates or their capricious, unfounded views.

Mark Levine did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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