Transgender people face unique obstacles to obtaining identity documents (IDs) that reflect their gender identity. Identity documents that do not accurately reflect one’s gender, such as a person’s name or gender marker, create obstacles to participating in many facets of public life, including voting. Such obstacles can impact voting in the 35 states that have voter ID laws. In these states, voters encounter additional verification requirements at the polls on top of federal standards for voter registration and eligibility determination. The strictest of these voter ID laws require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polling place, and provide no alternative for voters who do not have a photo ID, or as is often the case for transgender voters, have an inaccurate photo ID.
The Williams Institute analyzed voter ID laws across the United States in the lead-up to the November 2022 general election and found that as many as 203,700 transgender Americans who are eligible to vote may find it difficult to do so because of voter ID laws, including 64,800 who could face disenfranchisement in states with strict photo ID requirements. The analysis also revealed that:
- An estimated 878,300 transgender adults in the U.S. will be eligible to vote in the November 2022 general election.
- Forty-two states conduct their elections primarily in person at polling places, as opposed to fully by mail.
- Over 697,800 voting-eligible transgender Americans live in these states.
- An estimated 43% of these individuals (296,700) lack identity documents that correctly reflect their name or gender.
- These individuals may face barriers to voting in person because of a mismatch with their information as listed on voter registration rolls or because of voter ID laws.
- About 414,000 voting-eligible transgender Americans live in the 31 states that both (1) primarily conduct their elections in person at the polls, and (2) have a voter ID law. Nearly half of these, or 203,700 individuals, do not have an ID that correctly reflects their name and/or gender.
- Of voting-eligible transgender people who live in states with voter ID requirements, 64,800 live in the states with the strictest voter ID laws (photo ID required with few or no alternatives available).
- These eligible voters could face substantial barriers and potential disenfranchisement in the November 2022 general election.
- Transgender people who are Black, indigenous, or people of color, young adults, students, people with low incomes, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities are overrepresented among the over 203,700 voting-eligible transgender people who may face barriers to voting due to voter ID laws in the 2022 midterm election cycle.