- Views & Opinions
The National Center for Transgender Equality and GLAAD have released a series of public service announcements advising on how transgender Americans can protect their right to vote on Election Day.
The urgency of the PSAs is linked to new and stricter voter identification laws in some states.
The announcements feature NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, writer and advocate Janet Mock, actress Laverne Cox, performance artist Ignacio Rivera, Charles Meins and poet Kit Yan. They are part of a nationwide “Voting While Trans” campaign to raise awareness about the impact the photo ID laws may have on thousands of transgender Americans this November.
“New voter ID laws have created costly barriers to voting for many trans people,” said NCTE executive director Mara Keisling. “And much worse, the debate about voter ID laws have made even the idea of voting harder so many of us may feel discouraged from even trying to vote on election day. Our message is don’t let them scare you into giving up your vote.”
NCTE says that getting accurate identification is an old challenge for many transgender people. Some states have addressed the problem by modernizing laws on updating driver’s licenses.
But passage of dozens of new voter ID laws and strict photo ID requirements likely will create barriers for transgender voters at the polls. The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that as many as than 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote as a result of revised photo ID laws.
“Every day, countless transgender Americans face challenges trying to secure IDs that reflect their true identity, and as a result, experience hardships in fundamental freedoms including the right to vote,” said GLAAD president Herndon Graddick. “We all deserve to make sure our voice is heard. These new strict-photo ID laws will adversely impact thousands of already disenfranchised Americans, many of whom are transgender people of color, who may also be low income, elderly or have a disability.”
GLAAD and NCTE urge transgender people to verify whether their voter registration information matches the name and address on their identification and to consult NCTE’s “Voting While Trans” resources to find out how to protect their rights at the polling place.
On the Web…
Watch the PSAs at www.votingwhiletrans.org.