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New Report Finds Voter ID Laws Disenfranchise Transgender Community

A new report from the Williams Institute found that voter ID laws disproportionately impact and disenfranchise the transgender community.

The report released this month found that more than 34,000 transgender Americans across eight states could be prevented from voting due to restrictive voter ID laws.

In Shelby County v. Holder in June 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, a law that is designed to ensure minority voters across the country are able to participate equally in the electoral process by prohibiting discriminatory voting practices and removing barriers to voting.  Since the Supreme Court’s decision, states and localities have brazenly pushed forward potentially discriminatory changes to voting practices, such as changing district boundaries to disadvantage select voters, instituting unnecessary voter identification laws, and changing polling locations with little notice.

Transgender people are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and disenfranchisement when voting due primarily to challenges around valid identification documents. Many transgender people do not have forms of ID that reflect their gender, either because they are in the process of changing their documents or face financial or legal barriers to doing so. In addition, many LGBTQ people face compounded discrimination based on other characteristics, including race, age, and economic status.  These vulnerabilities weaken our entire community’s voting power.

Roughly 6 million LGB voters cast a ballot in 2012 — an election President Obama won by just under 5 million votes. Historically, turnout among LGBTQ voters is significantly higher than the general voting population. And there’s this: in key swing states like North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia, the number of LGBTQ adults is greater than the margin of victory in 2012.

This November, there are approximately 9.4 million LGBTQ people of voting age in the U.S. This year, more than any election before, we know that every vote counts. That’s why HRC is on the ground, working to mobilize and #turnOUT LGBTQ and pro-equality voters in battleground states across the country. Learn more at hrc.org/VoteEquality and register to vote today at hrc.org/vote.