It’s no secret that some of the most common burdens in the daily lives of transgender people are identification documents. Gender markers (either explicit or inferred from photos or names) on everything from driver’s licenses to birth certificates to Social Security ID’s create constant difficulties—from bureaucratic headaches to legitimate safety concerns—for both transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Now, with the passage of “Voter ID” laws in several states, we can add the basic democratic right to vote to the list of activities that force transgender people to confront substantial institutional, personal, and psychological barriers to something crucial that many others take for granted.
First, some context: Over the past year, Republican legislators have launched themselves into a panic over “voter fraud” and have posited the need for stricter identification requirements when people vote.
But anyone who puts the slightest trust in (or even considers) empirical data about voting knows that voter fraud is an incredibly rare occurrence. By incredibly rare, we’re talking less than a thousandth of a percent rare.
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