Get ready to vote on Tuesday: Voter ID Laws are Bad for Transgender and Non-Binary Voters

By jlindholm | October 29, 2021

Election day is coming up this Tuesday, November 2nd. It is an important opportunity to turn out and stand up for the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ rights and the future of the queer rights movement are on the ballot. Virginia and New Jersey feature gubernatorial and state legislative elections while many cities are hosting local elections. These elections are critical in protecting and advancing the rights of LGBTQ Americans. Among LGBTQ voters, members of the transgender and non-binary communities may face unique barriers to participation. Particularly in regard to voter ID laws that may complicate the process of registering to vote or receiving a ballot. GLAAD is partnering with HeadCount to ensure that transgender and non-binary people have support at the polls.

“For transgender and non-binary people whose ID doesn’t match their name and gender, voter ID laws can make the experience of casting a ballot invalidating, intimidating, and unsafe. On top of this, restrictive identification requirements make updating legal name and gender marker on ID an unreasonably challenging process. These barriers impact transgender and non-binary voters’ participation in our democracy” – from Headcount 

As many transgender or non-binary people may have an ID that does not match their name or gender presentation. This can result in harassment or uncomfortable questions from poll workers. Additionally, transgender and non-binary people may have to submit a ballot using their deadname. Voting can be an uncomfortable and arduous process for transgender and non-binary voters. HeadCount has compiled relevant information to assist transgender and non-binary voters prepare before they head to the polls. 

One of the most significant barriers to obtaining a ballot may be voter ID laws. 22 states have restrictive identification requirements and voter ID requirements, while 36 have have voter ID laws and 24 have restrictive identification requirements. 49 states and DC require that your voter registration match your legal name. These can be burdensome for transgender and non-binary voters who may identify with a different name and gender presentation then what is listed on their ID. Navigating the voting process places unecessary burdens on transgender and non-binary voters. HeadCount makes the following recommendstions for transgender and non-binary voters that do not have an ID that lists their deadname or misgenders them. 

  • Vote By Mail
  • Call VoteRiders on Election Day if you experience any ID challenges at the polls
  • Request a provisional ballot if your poll worker does not accept your ID
  • Bring a buddy to the polls

HeadCount has partnered with VoteRiders to create a voter protection hotline for transgender and non-binary voters with questions: 844-338-8743. Additional resources and information can be found at HeadCount’s Trans Voters Page and GLAAD’s election page