Transgender People Can Vote
The National Center For Transgender Equality has released some documentation on voting.
At NCTE, we believe in the importance of voting and we believe that it makes a difference in our work for transgender equality. People in elected offices make decisions that directly impact our ability to pass legislation that will protect you against discrimination and seek to decrease the violence our community faces.
Transgender people, however, sometimes face discrimination at the polls. In order to help you exercise your right to vote, NCTE is reissued our Guide to Overcoming Voting Obstacles to help you overcome any barriers to voting that you encounter. The Guide also addresses additional challenges that some transgender voters face, such as racism, felony conviction and homelessness.
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE AND OUR VOTES
You have the right to vote!
Note that in 13 states, there are more restrictive identification requirements, but even in these states, you should not be afraid to vote. If you live in one of these states (AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, MI, MO, NC, OH, PA, TX, VA), you can find specific useful information for your state from People for the American Way at http://site.pfaw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=voterid_toolkits.
If your current appearance or name does not match the name listed on the voting records, bring copies of your current and old IDs, any court orders changing your name and gender, or physician letters. Do not provide more information than is necessary. You may be more comfortable voting early, where it is available, because the polls may be less crowded and you’ll have more time to speak with poll workers about your particular situation.
See our Guide to Overcoming Voting Obstacles for specific information and contact one of the hotlines below if you encounter problems.
Autumn speaking here: Transgender people may face many of obstacles to voting in a year where the civil rights for gender variant people in years to come may be very much at stake. In this election, perhaps more importantly than any other election in our recent history, it’s so very important to vote. Transgender people can vote; transgender people should vote.
[Below the fold: A link to, and a copy of the Page 2 from the Guide to Overcoming Voting Obstacles. The page is the one entitled TRANSGENDER PEOPLE CAN VOTE, and gives specifics about issues such as one’s name on the voter role not matching the name on one’s identification, one’s identification picture not matching one’s current gender presentation, etc.]
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE CAN VOTE.
DO NOT LET ANYONE REFUSE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE.
Everyone should vote! Unfortunately there are issues that sometimes make it difficult for trans people to vote. Don’t let these barriers stop you from voting–you have a right to vote. Trans people may find voting to be an intimidating process for many reasons. Below are trans-specific reasons; on the following pages are other situations that may arise for some transgender people.
Since laws vary from state to state, remember to bring identification to the polls that will show you are the person who is registered to vote. Requirements have changed recently in some states. Check with the Secretary of State’s office for further information (for more information is available at the National Association of Secretaries of State, http://www.nass.org).
YOUR NAME DOESN’T MATCH
You may have obtained ID with a new name (legal or assumed) which does not match the name listed on the voter rolls. Trans voters should change their names on the voter registration rolls to their new name as soon as possible. Contact your local Registrar of Voters. But you should still be allowed to vote. Bring the ID necessary to show that you are the person who is registered to vote. Some possibilities include old ID cards, court orders, or physician letters.
YOUR PICTURE DOESN’T MATCH
The picture (or name) displayed on your ID may no longer match your gender expression. If so, it is important for you to carry whatever identifi cation or documentation is necessary to prove that you are the person registered to vote under that name. Some possibilities might include old ID cards, any court orders or physician letters you may have.
MULTIPLE ID HAS CONFLICTING INFORMATION
While we do suggest that you bring enough ID to prove that you are the person who is registered to vote, it is not appropriate for poll workers to ask for more than that. In many places, they may only ask for ID from first-time voters. If you encounter this problem, ask for a provisional ballot and call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Fear of transphobia or discrimination can also play a roll in keeping trans people from voting. Many states offer early voting or absentee balloting; these methods of voting may make some trans people more comfortable. You can fi nd information by contacting the Secretary of State in your state. You might also think about bringing a voting buddy when you go to the polls.
IF YOU ARE TOLD YOU CANNOT VOTE FOR ANY REASON, INSIST ON A PROVISIONAL BALLOT AND IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE ELECTION PROTECTION COALITION AT 1-866-OUR-VOTE.