Every citizen deserves the right to vote | Photo: Flickr/looking4poetry
Tens of thousands of transgender Americans may face difficulties casting their vote this November in the midterm elections.
A new report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law reveals the realities of voter identification laws for trans citizens.
Out of 50 states in the US, 34 have voter ID laws. The strictest laws require a government-issued photo ID and if trans people’s IDs don’t match their gender identity and/or photo, they could face obstacles in trying to vote.
Eight states have strict voter laws, requiring a photo with the ID. They are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Using data from the 2017 Current Population Survey and the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), the Williams Institute determined how these laws will affect trans voters.
According to the data, this November, there will be 137,000 trans people who are eligible to vote in these strict states. About 57% may not have IDs properly reflecting their gender identity and/or names, meaning about 78,000 of them could face barriers voting.
The impacts on elections
The USTS indicated 46% of transgender adult citizens did not have IDs correctly reflecting their gender identity. This means ‘their identity
documents list the incorrect name, incorrect gender, or both’.
There are several reasons for this.
In a 2006 study, 11% of US citizens revealed they did not have government-issued photo IDs. Most of the people affected by this were minorities, the elderly, and people with lower incomes.
Voting is crucial, especially in a year like this, where an unprecedented number of women, POC, and LGBTQ people are running for office. Someone like Sharice Davids could be elected as the first lesbian Native American congresswoman this fall.
Last year already saw victories for LGBTQ candidates with good voter turnout and that could continue this year.
Further, electing progressive candidates also increases the likelihood of progressive legislation, such as the Equality Act.