16+ Decades of Photo IDs  

Written by Jeff Davidson on June 17, 2021

Democrats would have you believe that requiring ID for voting is a recent and burdensome phenomenon. Yet, virtually every country on earth, except the United States, requires a government-issued ID in order for individuals to vote. Indeed, in many countries around the world, absentee voting is not permitted: Show up with your ID, or don’t cast a vote.

Would You Believe, 167 Years

Here’s news: The photo ID has been with us for quite a long time. In 1854, a French photographer by the name of Adolphe Disderi perfected a method for creating miniature portraits. In 1857, the Duke of Parma devised a business card that included a small portrait of himself. By 1859, the notion of carrying a photo ID on one’s person had spread from Europe to the U.S.

Photographs printed on cards became a standard by the time of the U.S. Civil War. In uniform, soldiers for both the Union and the Confederacy had their pictures taken before they went off to war. They also brought with them pictures of their families and loved ones.

At the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876, organizers needed a method to protect legitimate season passes, paid for by patrons, against unauthorized and bogus passes devised by non-paying, wannabe attendees. So, by using a variety of procedures unavailable to laypeople, they devised what was a forerunner to today’s photo ID.

Worldwide Usage

From 1876 on, the photo ID became popular around the world, embraced by the Japanese in the early 1900s, and then notoriously employed by Nazis to shepherd Jews into ghettos during World War II. By the end of the last century, photo IDs were a virtually universal phenomenon in America and, with advanced technology, caught on in many realms of society, most notably for driver’s licenses.

In this day and age, whether or not a U.S. citizen has a driver’s license, everyone can easily and affordably obtain a government-issued ID. State motor vehicle departments will issue a non-driver’s ID to individuals who demonstrate their citizenship. And that comes in handy: Here is a partial list of items and activities for which you either must offer a photo ID or for which you might be requested to offer one:

  • Adopting a pet from the ASPCA
  • Appearing before court-appointed handlers when on parole or probation
  • Applying for Medicaid
  • Applying for Social Security
  • Applying for a U.S. passport
  • Applying for a fishing license
  • Applying for a hunting license
  • Applying for a job
  • Applying for a mortgage
  • Applying for and receiving unemployment compensation
  • Applying for food stamps
  • Applying for welfare
  • Attending an NC-17 adult movie
  • Attending various U.S. military or space symposiums
  • Being accepted to a medical marijuana program
  • Being admitted to a College Level Examination Program test center
  • Being admitted to a Graduate Record Exam test center
  • Being admitted to a Law School Admission Council test center
  • Being pulled over by a State trooper
  • Boarding a cruise ship
  • Boarding an airplane
  • Booking a cruise
  • Bungee-jumping
  • Buying a car
  • Buying a cell phone
  • Buying a house
  • Buying a lottery ticket
  • Buying an “M” rated video game
  • Buying an Amtrak or Greyhound Bus ticket
  • Claiming a prize from a radio station sponsored contest
  • Collecting lottery winnings
  • Doing business with a local, state, or federal court
  • Donating blood
  • Driving a car
  • Driving a taxi cab
  • Driving to Canada
  • Driving to Mexico
  • Enlisting in the Armed Services
  • Enrolling in home swapping vacation arrangements
  • Entering a U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Entering a bar
  • Entering the Pentagon
  • Holding a rally
  • Making a pawn shop purchase
  • Nominating someone to run for public office
  • Obtaining a marriage license
  • Opening a checking or savings account
  • Participating in most public road races
  • Picking up a package at U.S. Postal Service locations
  • Picking up a prescription
  • Posting on Instagram
  • Purchasing a gun
  • Purchasing alcohol
  • Purchasing certain cold medicines
  • Purchasing cigarettes
  • Purchasing fireworks
  • Receiving free immunizations for eligible children
  • Receiving senior discount bus and movies fares
  • Receiving unclaimed property
  • Receiving veterans benefits
  • Receiving your own medical records
  • Reinstating a disabled Facebook or LinkedIn account
  • Renting a car
  • Renting a home or apartment
  • Renting a hotel room
  • Renting a motorbike
  • Renting jet skis, boats, canoes, and snowmobiles
  • Returning an item at Walmart or Target stores
  • Running for public office
  • Sending an Amtrak express shipment
  • Shipping a package at U.S. Postal Service locations
  • Shipping a package at UPS retail locations
  • Skydiving
  • Storing baggage at Amtrak stations
  • Taking a Federal Aviation Administration test
  • Taking a college placement test
  • Taking an Automotive Service Excellence test
  • Visiting a casino
  • Visiting someone in prison
  • Visiting the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point, Quantico, etc

Phony Claims of Discrimination

Despite all of the above, the Left insists that requiring ID for voting is somehow discriminatory against certain groups of people! To listen to Democrat politicians about government-issued photo IDs, in the age of smartphones and the Internet, boggles the rational mind.

As most people are wise on the issue of voter ID, please carefully explain how requiring a photo ID suppresses the vote: Many people don’t understand anyone without a state-issued photo ID can function at all in society.



Jeff Davidson
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people.