Long Lines for CityKey as Mayor Faces Critics Who Say It’s Part of Re-Election Campaign

The first 100,000 applicants were set to receive the card for free

A big crowd arrived Monday as dozens lined up to be among the first to receive Chicago’s new CityKey I.D.

The first 100,000 applicants were set to receive the card for free.

Printing began Monday morning at Kennedy King College, but other printing events are slated take place at neighborhoods across the city.

The identification card aims to help those who have difficulty getting a traditional state I.D. The program has also partnered with businesses, museums and ride services to offer benefits to cardholders including discounts at restaurants, gyms, theaters, museums and more.

"If you live in Chicago, you should feel a part of our city – not apart from it,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "The CityKey breaks down barriers and allows all Chicagoans to take advantage of the very best our City has to offer." 

Critics, however, question if the I.D. will open the door to voter fraud. 

The launch of the program also comes just months before the city’s next mayoral election, and some see it as a tool to win over the Latino vote as Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces a crowded field of challengers. 

“We just went through three and a half years of Governor [Bruce] Rauner trying to up-end the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said Monday. “If you want to talk about the future of the city and having a partner in Springfield rather than somebody who’s trying to undermine the city, the governor’s race is the first race and that to me is the most important race.”

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