Nearly 34,000 Americans may face barriers when they head to the polls in November and it is all thanks to unnecessary Republican voter ID laws. According to recent reports, transgender people may have a difficult time voting if they have not changed the gender on their identification cards.
Arli Christian, spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), explained the problem in an interview with VOA News:
"A transgender voter may show up at the poll with a valid ID, however if they have not been able to update the gender marker or photo on that ID, a poll worker may be confused and refuse them a ballot."
Although it is a civil rights violation to refuse to allow a transgender individual the right to vote, a 2011 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found it is a widespread problem. Forty percent of transgender respondents said they have been harassed at polling places when they presented an ID that did not match their gender identity.
Claire Swinford recalled her first time at the polls as her true self in an interview with The Daily Beast in 2012. In 2010, Swinford tried to cast a ballot in the Arizona primary when a poll worker stopped her and told her she would not be able to vote. The reason? Swinford had not been able to afford the more than $200 fee required to change the gender on her ID. “Everyone in the place can overhear the conversation where the person is questioning my identity and calling me sir,” she said.
Eventually, Swinford was able to vote because she would not allow the poll worker to bully her, but not everyone knows their rights. “It’s a shame that a trans person would have to put themselves at risk of scrutiny, harassment, discrimination to exercise something as basic as their right to vote,” Christian said.
This is exactly the point of voter ID laws. Although the Bush Administration investigated "voter fraud" for five years and came up with nothing, the GOP still uses tales of invisible people voting to suppress minority populations. If you are a trans person, the best way to stop this is assault on the Constitution is to know your rights; and that is why the National Center for Transgender Equality has a "Voting While Trans" checklist to help protect your unalienable right to participate in our democracy: