Voter ID Laws May Impact Transgender Voters at Midterms

By Alexis Hamilton

MSNBC reports the findings of a recent Williams Institute study, which suggests transgender voters may encounter difficulties at the polls during midterm elections because of some states’ strict voter identification laws. For the transgender individuals who live in those states, updating photo IDs may be “prohibitively difficult and costly.”

States with strict photo ID laws include: Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia. The Williams Institute study estimated that as many as 25,000 voters might have problems at the ballot box or be disenfranchised because of the voter ID laws.

Though the majority of Americans–about 78 percent according to a Rasmussen Reports Poll–support voter ID laws, it is possible to protect the voting rights of transgender Americans as well as safeguard the voting process from fraud. Alabama, for example, allows voters without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot and bring an ID to the election office no later than the Friday after election day, or two election officials can give sworn statements affirming that they know the voter. Perhaps voter registration drives and LGBT organizations in states with strict laws should also increase their outreach to transgender voters, make them aware of the ID laws, and inform them about the process of obtaining new identification that will enable them to cast their ballots in November.

There is also at least one website, votingwhiletrans.org, which contains helpful information about required identification and the location of polling places.

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