Please tell me this is a joke. A group called Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment (CHANGE) approached the Winston-Salem Chief of Police, Scott Cunningham, and offered to issue ID cards to people without identification (some of them “undocumented”). Here, I am afraid, is the punch line, Chief Cunningham has accepted the offer and even held a press conference detailing the joint venture.
The police chief says that the ID’s will be issued to people who don’t have identification already and will help the police when they interact with these people. He went on to say that the group CHANGE will “be looking for different forms of identification that they verify…and after the verification that they do, then they will issue their ID card.” CHANGE describes itself as an organization of good power and is one of the “57 affiliates of the oldest and largest community organizing networks in the United States, The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).” Click here to read a Civitas Blog on who funds CHANGE.
IAF’s purpose is to create independent organizations (see CHANGE) inventing and establishing new social realities. The IAF website also proclaims that they “build organizations whose primary purpose is power and whose chief product is social change.
The ID card the police chief used as an example at his press conference looked very much like an official ID card. The Winston-Salem Police will now recognize these cards, while admitting they might not be based on reliable information. Who else will accept this very unofficial card as official identification?
This ID card might be very helpful to someone wanting to register and vote at the last minute. In 2008 more than 2.5 million voters voted in the 2 ½ weeks leading up to Election Day and more than 100,000 people registered at the same time that they voted. The people who use Same Day Registration (SDR) are required to show some sort of ID (the term ID is used very loosely here because utility bills and notes from colleges are recognized as ID’s). Could a poll worker mistakenly accept this as official identification?
After your read a little about CHANGE and IAF, I think you will agree that these organizations sound a lot like ACORN or maybe North Carolina Public Interest Research Group (NCPIRG). Both ACORN and NCPRIG have been involved (at least) in voter registration fraud. But, CHANGE asserts that they are “not a movement, a protest group, a political action committee, or a service organization.” And they say, “We do not run programs, endorse candidates, or take government money. But, they did lead a successful effort last year to make school-board elections nonpartisan in Forsyth County. They were helped by Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth, who promoted the bill in the Senate and the Democrat Legislature. Some people believe that this was an attempt to break the Republican majority on the Board.
2010 was the Forsyth school board’s first nonpartisan election and for the record, CHANGE failed to replace any incumbent Republican members – all the incumbents (Republican and Democrat) won re-election.