"A recent national survey sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law reveals that millions of American citizens do not have readily available documentary proof of citizenship. Many more – primarily women – do not have proof of citizenship with their current name. The survey also showed that millions of American citizens do not have government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. Finally, the survey demonstrated that certain groups – primarily poor, elderly, and minority citizens – are less likely to possess these forms of documentation than the general population. Survey results: proof of citizenship As many as 7% of United States citizens – 13 million individuals – do not have ready access to citizenship documents. Seven percent of the American citizens surveyed responded that they do not have ready access to U.S. passports, naturalization papers, or birth certificates. Using 2000 census calculations of the citizen voting-age population, this translates to more than 13 million American adult citizens nationwide who cannot easily produce documentation proving their citizenship.Citizens with comparatively low incomes are less likely to possess documentation proving their citizenship. Citizens earning less than 25,000 per year are more than twice as likely to lack ready documentation of their citizenship as those earning more than $25,000.Indeed, the survey indicates that at least 12 percent of voting-age American citizens earning less than $25,000 per year do not have a readily available U.S. passport, naturalization document, or birth certificate.Documentation proving citizenship often does not reflect the citizen’s current name. Many of those who possess ready documentation of their citizenship do not have documentation that reflects their current name. For example, survey results show that only 48% of voting-age women with ready access to their U.S. birth certificates have a birth certificate with current legal name – and only 66% of voting-age women with ready access to any proof of citizenship have a document with current legal name.Using 2000 census citizen voting-age population data, this means that as many as 32 million voting-age women may have available only proof of citizenship documents that do not reflect their current name."
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