President Joe Biden has announced an intention to create and enact a dystopian “vaccine passport,” a scannable code that can prove whether an American has been vaccinated to determine their access to public and private spaces.
The idea of having to publicize one’s medical history in order to freely engage in society has left conservatives horrified, but is being embraced by many on the left. Hypocritically, the President argued against a far less invasive form of identification just months ago: voter ID.
President Biden signed two executive orders that appear to contradict themselves on requiring identification to engage in public life. One of Biden’s many late-January executive orders urged government agencies to “assess the feasibility” of developing a means by which to document people’s vaccination history.
On March 7, Biden signed an order that once again promotes a refusal to disclose facets about one’s identity, this time in the voting booth. The “Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting” describes requiring photo identification to vote as “discriminatory policies” against “Black voters and other voters of color.”
The president likewise referred to voter ID laws as evidence of “hatred” and likened the restrictions to Jim Crow. Eighty-four percent of Americans hold driver’s licenses, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration, a rate growing every year. While certain counties and towns have lower rates of licensed drivers among the black members of the population, one does not need to pass a driver’s test to obtain an official, state-issued photo ID.
Ignoring the fact that a photo ID is required to open a bank account, check into hotels, drive a car, and buy alcohol or cold medicine, it is astonishingly easy to get a state-issued photo ID from the DMV. In New Jersey, it just requires some basic identification and $24. These cards reveal nothing more than name, age, address, and appearance, proving to polling places that the individual lives in the district and is who he or she claims to be.
Forced vaccine passports may face accusations of discriminatory effects, due to their likely form as a smartphone app. According to Pew Research Center, 81 percent of Americans have smartphones as of 2019, leaving over 60 million Americans without access to this potentially required proof of vaccination. More Americans have driver’s licenses than smartphones.
While the difference is within a few percentage points, women and people of color use smartphones at lower rates than white men do. Income and education levels were unsurprisingly the main factors to whether an American owned a smartphone.
If coronavirus is still justifying lockdowns in two years, would the Biden administration require vaccine passports but not photo IDs to vote? I for one would much rather prove who I am than disclose my medical history in order to vote.
The vaccine passport is a frightening invasion of medical privacy, allowing the government and corporations working with the administration to force Americans to reveal parts of their medical history in order to go into businesses like restaurants, stores, and theaters.
Many rightfully fear these passports will not end at COVID vaccines, with the government requiring a growing amount of personal information to be forcibly disseminated through apps. Yet the Biden administration is far more concerned with protecting future voters from a straightforward, easy-to-access photo ID than the privacy of Americans’ medical history.