Transgender voters face Voting I.D. obstacles

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Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 11:21 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Transgender voters across the United States could face disenfranchisement because of voter I.D. laws.

Liam Douglas, a Trans-man, is now eligible to vote after complying with Indiana voter I.D. laws and fulfilling his publication requirement; he says it wasn’t cheap nor easy.

“It’s been about probably six years since I changed my name legally,” said Douglas. “And it was very very expensive process and not everybody’s financially able to make those changes.”

Nine states, including Indiana, require people who have changed their name to fulfill the “name publication requirement”, which is when a person publishes an announcement of their name change or said voter must submit a waiver in order to cast their ballot.

Indiana also requires voters to provide a photo identification with a “reasonable likeness” and name on the photo I.D. that is similar to the name on the voting registration record.

Douglas says the publication requirement is intrusive and poses a safety risk to transgender men and women.

“To have your existence be a threat just by being is a very unnerving thing daily,” said Douglas. “I know for me ya know I have a son, I have a wife, and sometimes whenever there are hot topics going around their is a very intense feeling to have because I’m not only worried about my safety, but the people around me as well.”

According to a study from UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, more than 200,000 transgender Americans could be blocked by voter I.D. laws like these.

Clerk of the Circuit Court, Carla Hayden, says as long as transgender voters state issued I.D. matches the name they registered to vote with, the person will be able to vote.

Poll workers are provided with a tip sheet centered around interacting respectfully with transgender and non-gender conforming people during job training.

Gender identity term definitions and a list of “respectful interactions” are provided, on the tip sheet.

Douglas says if any transgender and non-gender conforming people want support at the polls, someone from the River City Pride Board will be more than happy to go vote with you.

Contact Vanderburgh County Election office at (812) 435-5122 with any questions regarding Voting I.D. laws, registration, or Election Day.