COGS pushes Johnson County community IDs

A+COGS+International+Student+and+Community+ID+Event+in+the+Old+Capitol+Mall+common+area+offered+ID+applications+Feb.+10+and+11%2C+from+11+a.m.+to+1+p.m.+IDs+cost+%248.00+and+will+be+mailed+to+you+in+Iowa+City.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FMary+Mathis%29

A COGS International Student and Community ID Event in the Old Capitol Mall common area offered ID applications Feb. 10 and 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ID’s cost $8.00 and will be mailed to you in Iowa City. (The Daily Iowan/Mary Mathis)

Cindy Garcia, [email protected]

Students on campus are spreading awareness and diminishing the stigma of carrying an alternative form of government identification.

The Campaign to Organize Graduate Students staked out the Old Capitol Town Center on Tuesday to encourage international students and community members to sign up for a Johnson County Community ID for $8. COGS and the Johnson County Auditor’s Office will also be at the mall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.

The local government-issued photo ID can be used to open an account in participating banks, confirm identity when using credit cards, and when interacting with schools, city and county agencies, and law-enforcement officials. Discounts are also offered by community businesses.

Todd Pruner, the COGS international student representative, said the group held the event because members heard the difficulties encountered by international students who have no government-issued IDs. Some resort to carrying their passports everywhere they go, he said.

Pruner, who hails from Canada, signed up for a community ID at the event. He said it proved helpful since his only form of local identification is his student ID.

“You know, just for peace of mind, if I get asked for ID by a police officer or something, this is a good way to show who I am and that I am a Johnson County resident,” he said.

Johnson County Community IDs were first issued in July 2015, and 765 have been issued in so far, said Shaun Kinney, an elections technician at the Auditor’s Office.

“I was really surprised by how many people came out. It’s been nice to see,” he said. “It’s been a really great mix of traditional residents and people who have all their documents and the nontraditional people who maybe just arrived in the county and don’t have everything done and in order yet.”

Rachel Poe, a COGS organizer, informed students at the mall about the event and also signed up for an ID at the event, citing a desire to diminish the sense of “other” associated with the ID.

“I felt it was important to get an ID because it feels like an act of solidarity to make the ID more commonplace so people don’t feel different,” she said.

Poe was surprised by how many people didn’t know the community ID was available and hoped the event would change that.

“I hope that people sign up. I hope people feel welcomed within the community by having access to the ID, and I hope it makes people’s lives easier to have the ID,” she said.

Kinney echoed her belief.

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