by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

August 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, will introduce legislation that would require states mandating vaccine passports, or cards proving vaccination, to also require voter identification.

The proposed legislation comes after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (aka Warren Wilhelm Jr.) announced on Tuesday that the city would require visitors and city residents to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status to enter indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues.

“If states that take federal money for elections feel the need to make residents verify a piece of information as private as their vaccination status just to return to normalcy, then they should have no problem requiring people to prove they are who they say they are when they go to vote . . . this would ensure those states are being consistent about their identification requirements and shine a light on those who hypocritically oppose Voter ID laws but support vaccine passports.” Cramer said in a Tuesday statement. 

As of yet, no governors have issued statewide vaccine proof requirement, and 20 states, including North Dakota, have outright prohibited the possibility of such a requirement.  The Biden administration has stated repeatedly that there will be no federal vaccine passport mandate.

California, New York, and Hawaii, on the other hand, have contributed to the development of optional digital vaccine passports, allowing residents to show proof of vaccination status from their smartphones at establishments that choose to require them.  According to local reports, Oregon is requiring retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and other establishments to review customers’ vaccination status cards that they receive after getting the shot in exchange for services.

Many Republicans, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), contend that the former is a violation of civil liberties and an abuse of government power.

Democrats argue that the latter may make it more difficult for some people to vote, with some labeling the practice “racist,” in response to a slew of GOP-led voting laws introduced or passed in states such as Texas and Georgia that restrict things like early voting and mail-in ballots, as well as requiring identification at the polls.  Biden has yet to comment on Delaware’s existing voter ID law, which according to Democrats would now be considered a racist Jim Crow or “Jim Eagle” law in the state Biden represented for 36 years without calling for the end of Delaware’s voter ID law.