Approximately 24,000 transgender citizens do not have the proper identification to comply with certain states’ strict voter ID laws, leaving them vulnerable to significant barriers at the polls and possibly disenfranchisement this November, a new study from the Williams Institute has found. According to the report, the 10 states where transgender voters stand to face the toughest challenges this election cycle include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Most of those states have passed photo ID requirements – the strictest kind of voter identification law – which call for citizens to present a specific type of government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. For some with gender dysphoria, a condition in which there is a marked difference between a person’s expressed or experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, updating state-issued IDs can be prohibitively difficult and costly.
“In 10 states where strict photo ID laws have passed, transgender voters who have transitioned and do not have updated ID will be required to present ID that does not accurately reflect their gender in order to vote,” wrote Dr. Jody Herman, manager of transgender research at the Williams Institute and author of the study. “In those cases, poll workers and election officials may decide that the ID presented does not match the voter, which could result in that vote not being counted.”
Furthermore, found Herman, “[w]hen presenting identification that did not accurately reflect their gender, many transgender respondents reported being harassed (41%), being asked to leave the venue where they presented the identification (15%), and being assaulted or attacked (3%.)” Herman’s research was based on data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS,) which was conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.