Over 378,000 transgender citizens could face barriers to voting at the polls in the 2020 general election

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2020

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Rachel Dowd
dowd@law.ucla.edu
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Voter registration requirements and voter ID laws may present a challenge for transgender people who do not have accurate identification.

An estimated 965,350 transgender adults will be eligible to vote in the 2020 general election, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Approximately 378,000 of them could have problems voting at the polls because they do not have an ID that correctly reflects their name and/or gender. Nearly 81,000 of these transgender adults reside in states with the strictest forms of voter ID laws and could potentially be disenfranchised.

Eight states with the strictest voter ID laws—Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin—require that voters provide a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport or military ID, in order to vote on a regular ballot at the polls. Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia both hold primaries on Tuesday, March 3.

“When voting at the polls, election officials and poll workers are the ones who decide whether the voter in front of them is the person on the voter registration rolls,” said co-author Jody L. Herman, a scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute. “Especially in states that require an ID to be shown, this could result in some transgender voters being disenfranchised.”

Transgender people of color, young adults, students, people with low incomes and people with disabilities are likely overrepresented among those who do not have accurate IDs for voting.

“Transgender people often face substantial challenges to obtaining accurate identification,” said lead author Kathryn O’Neill, policy analyst at the Williams Institute. “The requirements for updating the name and gender on official IDs vary widely across states, and the process can be complex and costly.”

Read the report.

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