How ID Laws Disenfranchise Transgender Voters

CityLab

CityLab
By Brentin Mock
April 1, 2016

Part of the grand short-sightedness of voter ID laws is that they depend upon obsolete notions of fixed identity for participation rights in a democracy premised, in many ways, on changing identities. People change their minds about politics, which is why we have elections every few years. People frequently move, or get evicted, or foreclosed on, and change addresses. Names change when people marry or get divorced. Names and appearances can change when people undergo a gender transition or come to identify as “non binary,” falling somewhere between genders.

None of these changes invalidate people’s eligibility to to cast votes, but voter ID laws certainly make elections tougher for the people experiencing these transitions. And few voters have as much trouble on Election Day in voter ID states than transgender people. The UCLA School of Law’s Williams Instituteoffers some estimation of those unique burdens in its new report “Voter ID Laws and Their Added Costs for Transgender Voters”:

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