them.: How to Vote While Trans: A Guide to Voter ID Laws, Trans Voting Rights, and More

November 3, 2022

The midterm elections come with an added weight for many transgender voters this year. Local legislators have played a crucial role in orchestrating the wave of transphobic legislation currently threatening trans youth and adults across the U.S. From bills banning trans girls from K-12 sports to laws limiting access to life-saving care, trans rights are in danger across the country — which is why it’s more crucial than ever that the trans voters have access to the ballot box.

Yet while over 870,000 trans adults will be eligible to vote in the 2022 midterm elections, at least 200,000 do not have identification that reflects their correct name, gender marker, or presentation, according to the Williams Institute. This could make it unnecessarily difficult or impossible to vote in some cases, according to Lauren Kunis, the CEO and executive director of the voting rights nonprofit VoteRiders.

According to VoteRiders, 12 states have strict voter ID laws, which require voters to prove their identity with a form of ID that matches their initial registration exactly — a potential problem if a trans voter has legally changed their name since registering to vote. Additionally, 19 states across the U.S. have adopted new and often stricter voter ID laws since the 2020 election. It is perhaps no coincidence that many states that have passed anti-trans legislation also adopted stricter voter ID regulations since the last election cycle.

“Trans voters are at the top of the list of groups that are particularly challenged by voter ID laws in the United States,” Kunis says. “It can get complicated and tricky if you’re a trans voter looking to cast a vote, particularly if you’re in the process of transitioning.”

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