The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters

By Jody L. Herman
April 2012

Nine states’ voter ID laws may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for over 25,000 transgender voters this November. Strict photo ID states require voters to present government-issued photo identification in order to vote. Transgender voters who have transitioned from their assigned sex at birth to live full-time in a different gender face unique challenges to obtaining accurate government-issued identification. According to the new Williams Institute report, 41 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported not having an updated driver’s license and 74 percent did not have an updated U.S. passport.  Moreover, 27 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported that they had no identity documents or records that list their current gender.  People of color, youth, students, those with low incomes, and respondents with disabilities are likely to be disproportionately impacted.

The 25,000 transgender voters who will face these barriers would have otherwise been eligible to vote in the following nine states in the November 2012 general election:  Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. All of these states have passed strict photo ID laws and could have them in place for the November election.

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