Voter ID laws no longer just racist — ‘Suppressing transgender votes’ as well

November is rapidly approaching which means it’s time for Democrats to do everything they can to convince voters that Republicans don’t want them to vote. If one needs evidence of this, look no further than the sudden realization that voter identification laws are not just racist, but transphobic as well.

An article by The Hill seeks to argue that the bureaucratic process one must go through to change their name and gender identity on their official government documents is quite burdensome. This, combined with strict voter ID requirements could end up preventing “hundreds of thousands” of transgender voters from being able to cast a ballot for the midterms.

“In close Senate contests that could determine which party holds the majority next year, suppressing transgender votes may play a role in determining the results, policy analysts warn,” reads a portion of the article. It seems to be setting up the argument that if Republicans are able to sweep the Senate, it will be the fault of voter suppression rather than the result of an energized GOP voting base.

“More than 200,000 transgender Americans in 35 states face barriers to voting in the midterm elections next month because of restrictive voter ID laws, a recent Williams Institute report found,” the piece continues. “The strictest of those laws, impacting an estimated 65,000 transgender adults, provide no alternative for voters with inaccurate photo identification.”

“We do know that discrimination acts as a deterrent in general,” Logan Casey, one of Movement Advancement Project’s senior LGBTQ policy researchers, explained in an interview with The Hill. “There’s no reason to expect it wouldn’t happen here.”

A study indicated that “roughly 25 percent of transgender adults in the U.S. were not registered to vote” for a myriad of reasons including “potential harassment by election officials, inaccurate identity documents or stringent voter ID laws.

The problem is that many states have a series of difficult hoops to jump through in order for the government to officially recognize a name/gender change. In Tennessee and Georgia, for example, the transgender person must provide proof that they have undergone gender-affirming surgery or acquire a court order.

Adding to the idea that if Republicans win it will be because a certain group of people didn’t get to vote enough, The Hill throws in this gem: “The double barrier to voting that transgender people face will almost certainly impact the outcome of the midterm elections next month, according to Brian Hinkle, a senior voting policy researcher with the Movement Advancement Project.”

Hinkle argues that a number of perceived barriers can add up to ultimately affect the outcomes of elections with razor-thin margins, such as those in Georgia.

“If you have these barriers that may impact the trans population, along with populations like people of color, low-income voters and voters with disabilities, those barriers can quickly add up in a state with margins that close,” he said.

And if you’re thinking that all transgender people are affected equally by these restrictions, you’d be wrong. There is always an oppression hierarchy.

“Chanel Riser, a Black transgender woman in Detroit, Michigan, said white transgender women in the community, while still experiencing barriers to changing their identity documents, have greater access to legal and financial resources that allow them to do so comparatively easily,” The Hill’s piece reads.

Riser herself is not among the super-oppressed trans community, though. She was able to get her documents changed fairly simply with help from a local LGBT group.

“I’m just one of those few girls that has had the opportunity to have that changed,” she admitted. “Everyone has different experiences and different struggles.”

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