While other states are courageously standing up to Congress' misguided national ID mandate, California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is giving his constituents a rather indifferent message.
In response to a constituent's letter (sent through our Action Center) urging California to reject implementation of the REAL ID Act, the Governor's office simply replied: "The issue you have written about is federal in nature and not under state jurisdiction. We suggest that you contact your United States Senator?."
REAL ID is a federal mandate, but states and ultimately each state's residents bear the burden of putting this privacy-invasive system into place, including its more than 23 billion dollar price tag. REAL ID forces states to standardize drivers licenses and create massive, interlinked databases of your personal information.
The Governor's response seems to suggest that California's hands are tied, but that's clearly not the case. Just this week, Colorado became the eighth state to officially refuse implementation. From Alaska, to Texas, to Pennsylvania, states throughout the country are considering similar resolutions.
California ought to be leading this rebellion and standing up for its residents' privacy. State pushback is already forcing Congress to reconsider REAL ID, and, if California were to refuse implementation, that could be a fatal blow to the law.
The Governor is certainly right that you should contact your Congressional representatives and make your voice heard. But Californians and residents of all states deserve better than a "no comment" from their state officials when it comes to an issue of such great importance. Californians can tell the Governor to say no to REAL ID by using our Action Center or calling his office at 916-445-2841.
[A version of this post was also published at ACLU-NC's Tech Blog.]