Tens of Thousands of Trans Voters Could Face Huge Barriers to Voting This Year

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78,300 transgender voters will face significant barriers to casting their votes in the upcoming midterm elections, according to a new report covered by NBC News.

There are currently eight states with strict photo ID laws: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In these states, transgender voters who do not have updated ID that accurately reflects their gender presentation could have their votes discounted, based on the discretion of election officials.

The report reveals that almost half of all transgender adults who have transitioned (46%) reported that they did not have updated IDs that accurately reflected their gender. This proportion goes even higher within eight states with strict photo ID laws (57%). The report extrapolates that 78,300 transgender voters could face significant barriers to voting in these eight states, in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.


From the report, by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law:

There is no way to predict precisely how election officials and poll workers will treat transgender voters at the polls if they present identification that does not accurately reflect their gender. Thirty-two percent of respondents to the USTS reported having negative experiences after presenting identification documents that did not match their gender presentation. Respondents reported being verbally harassed (25%), denied services or benefits (16%), being asked to leave the venue where they presented the identification (9%), and being assaulted or attacked (2%) after presenting inaccurate IDs.


The transphobia experienced by trans voters is not limited to these eight states. Currently, 34 states have laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and it is up to election officials to decide whether the ID is acceptable or not.

In the past few months, there have been reports on the State Department retroactively revoking transgender women’s passports. This transphobia is not isolated. It comes in the context of the various bureaucratic barriers trans people face in having their personhood and their rights recognized.