78,300 Transgender Citizens May Be Stopped From Voting

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If a transgender person doesn’t have identification or documentation reflecting their gender, strict voter-identification laws may push them out of the polling sites.

Over 78,000 transgender people may be affected by these laws, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Eight states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin — require voters to have a government-issued photo identification at polling sites, and poll workers must decide if the ID reflects the information in registration roles.

Thus, if a trans person’s ID doesn’t match their gender or name, they could be excused from voting in upcoming elections. 

“Transgender people who have transitioned face additional burdens to acquiring or updating identification that would fulfill voter ID requirements in strict photo ID states,” reads the law school’s document. “To acquire accurate identification for voting, transgender people who have transitioned must first comply with official requirements for updating the name and gender on their state-issued or federally-issued IDs and records, such as their driver’s license or passport. Requirements for updating state-issued IDs vary widely by state and can be difficult and costly. Federal requirements also vary by agency.”

Lead author and public policy scholar at the Williams Institute told The Advocate, “Lawmakers, election officials and government agencies must work to ensure that transgender people have equal access to vote.”

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