Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Council Votes to Request that General Assembly Consider Getting Rid of Social Security Numbers

Citing the recent theft of the Metro Election Commission's laptops containing 337,000 voters records, a memorializing resolution introduced at the end of tonight's Metro Council meeting asks that the Davidson County delegation to the General Assembly consider legislation that would either end the use of social security numbers or limit their use to identity verification when voters arrive to vote followed by discard of the numbers.

In what turned out to be an unusually impassioned debate for a memorializing resolution (which attempt to persuade rather than force action), bill supporters claimed that voters are looking to the Council to do something to give them confidence to return to the polls. Opponents--like at-Large Member Jerry Maynard--expressed concern that asking the state legislature to stop using social security numbers could lead to a system of voter IDs, which he argued would disenfranchise the elderly and the poor.

The Council lawyer advised the group that the current system of using social security numbers has already been tested by the courts and has passed, which left me with the impression that this resolution is moot. The resolution passed by roll call vote with a small number of members either voting against or abstaining.

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