Today, GLAAD and National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), an advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights and liberties of transgender Americans, released a series of public service announcements at www.votingwhiletrans.org outlining how transgender Americans can keep their right to vote this election day and feature NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, writer and advocate Janet Mock, actress Laverne Cox, performance artist Ignacio Rivera, Charles Meins, and poet Kit Yan.
The PSAs are part of NCTE’s "Voting While Trans" public awareness campaign and part of GLAAD's effort to raise visiblity about the challenges thousands of transgender people may face heading to the polls this November. This year thousands of transgender Americans face being denied the right to to vote or having their vote discounted because of new strict photo ID law. The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that more than 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote as a result of revised photo ID laws.
"New voter ID laws have created costly barriers to voting for trans people. And much worse, the debates about voter ID laws alone have made the idea of voting so toxic that many of us aren’t even going to try to vote on election day," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. "Voter ID laws are silly. State legislatures have enacted them attempting to solve a fake problem. And as a result, transgender people--like students, veterans, low-income people of color, and older Americans--risk being denied a ballot this year," Keisling added.
Getting accurate identification has been an old challenge for transgender people. Many states have overcome this problem by modernizing their laws on updating birth certificates and drivers licenses, making voting more accessible to transgender people. However, the passage of dozens of new voter ID laws and strict photo ID requirements will now make it much harder for transgender people to vote. GLAAD has been working with media to elevate the everyday challenges trans Americans face trying participate fully in their communities simply because of antiquated photo-ID laws. We've also launched the glaad.org/vote page to encourage LGBT people and our allies to stand up and be heard this November.
"Every day, countless transgender Americans face challenges trying to secure IDs that reflect their true identity, and as a result, experience hardships in fundamental freedoms including the right to vote," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "We all deserve to make sure our voice is heard. These new strict-photo ID laws will adversely impact thousands of already disenfranchised Americans, many of whom are transgender people of color, who may also be low income, elderly or have a disability."
NCTE and GLAAD urge transgender people to verify whether their voter registration information matches the name and address on their identification. Additionally, transgender people who are able to update their photo ID are encouraged to do so.