Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kalamazoo County's local ID program hits the five-year mark

One person's hand gives an identification card to another person's hand
Courtesy photo
Kalamazoo County
Over 5,000 Kalamazoo County residents have received an ID through the program since 2018.

The ID provides an alternative to the Michigan state ID card.

Kalamazoo County is celebrating the 5th anniversary of its local ID card program. 

The program began in 2018 as an alternative to the Michigan state ID. It allows applicants to use a wider variety of documents to verify their identity. Over 5,000 residents have obtained the local ID card.    

Kalamazoo College Professor Francisco Villegas helped design the program. He says many people don’t realize how many common tasks require an ID, like picking up a prescription, renting an apartment, or cashing a check.  

“The numbers sound great,” said Villegas. “But I would be proud of the project even if we had less numbers because of the kind of impact you see on an individual basis.”

Kalamazoo County Clerk Meredith Place oversees the program. She says only one other county in Michigan offers a similar ID. She hopes more local governments across the state will follow suit.   

“We often talk about making sure marginalized voices are heard,” she said. “But also giving them identification is going to help them be heard and also help them be more of a part of our community.”

More information on how to apply for the ID can be found here.