Voting While Trans: Confronting New Voter ID Laws

Laverne Cox for Voting While Trans (screen shot via YouTube)

In response to the new voter ID laws that have created costly barriers for Transgender Americans, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a series of PSAs as part of their Voting While Trans public awareness campaign to help educate and prepare transgender people for how to vote in their state. The PSAs feature NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, writer and advocate Janet Mock, actress Laverne Cox, performance artist Ignacio Rivera, Charles Meins, and poet Kit Yan.

This year thousands of transgender Americans face being denied the right 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. “Voter ID laws are dangerous. 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 ballots this year,” says Keisling.

Read more and view the videos after the jump …

Getting accurate identification has been a difficult enough challenge for a while for transgender people. Many states have overcome this problem by modernizing their laws on updating 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 many transgender people to vote.

“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 marginalized Americans, many of whom are transgender people of color, who may also be low income, elderly or have a disability.” NCTE and GLAAD, one of our “Voting While Trans” campaign partners, urge transgender people to verify whether their voter registration information matches the name and address on their identification, and to consult NCTE’s “Voting While Trans” resources to find out how to protect their rights at the polling place.

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