New voter ID laws could prevent more than 25,000 transgender citizens from voting, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA. The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has released “Voting While Trans” resources in order to educate trans voters on what they can do to successfully cast their ballots, particularly during what advocate Laverne Cox says is “a critical election season.”
"Transgender people are already imagined to be committing gender fraud. Now these new voter ID laws could set us up to be accused of voter fraud," explains Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director. "Most transgender people have never had problems voting before but this year is different. When a transgender person shows up to a polling place with a name or appearance that isn't perceived to match their voter registration records or their photo ID, they could be turned away."
While voter ID laws vary from state to state, the issue of trans identified individuals trying to procure proper identification has long been an issue for the trans community. This particularly affects trans people of color who, as we know, disproprotionately face challenges obtaining government-issued IDs.
Transgender writer and advocate Janet Mock made clear the potential impact of these voter ID laws, saying they “don’t only make it difficult for trans people to meet ID requirements, but these patchwork of laws attempts to suppress our voices and strip us of our right to stand behind the issues that matter most to us.”
Check out this NCSL page (National Conference of State Legislatures) for a rundown of the voter ID laws in your state. NTCE has also begun disseminating resources, Preparing for the New Voter ID Laws and Voting While Trans Checklist, to assist trans voters in assuring that their political voice is not lost. The resources are easily accessed at www.votingwhiletrans.org.
Some other ways to help you and your trans friends and family hold onto your voting rights:
- Distribute the NCTE resources at an LGBT event, conference, support group, etc.
- Update your legal records before voter ID laws go into effect
- Share this via social media to raise awareness about how the LGBT community is affected by voter ID laws (For your convenience, Facebook, Twitter, and Google buttons are located to the left of this post)
At a time when LGBT rights and related issues are at the forefront of debates and legislative actions in our country, it is of the utmost importance for LGBT people to be able to exercise their political voices on platforms and planks that directly affect them.
GLAAD supports NCTE in their continued advocacy and efforts to raise awareness. Check out www.votingwhiletrans.org and share with friends.
— Trans Equality (@TransEquality) August 16, 2012