Washington, D.C. - The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a series of public service announcements outlining how transgender Americans can keep their right to vote this election day. They are available at www.votingwhiletrans.org.

The PSAs, part of NCTE's "Voting While Trans" public awareness campaign, aim to educate and prepare transgender people for how to vote in their state and feature NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, writer and advocate Janet Mock, actress Laverne Cox, performance artist Ignacio Rivera, Charles Meins, and poet Kit Yan.

"New voter ID laws have created costly barriers to voting for many trans people. 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."

This year thousands of transgender Americans face being denied the right to to vote or having their vote discounted because of new strict photo ID law. The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that more than 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote as a result of revised photo ID laws.

Keisling added, "Voter ID laws are dangerous. State legislatures have enacted them attempting to solve a fake problem. And as a result, transgender people--like students, veterans, low-income people of color, and older Americans--risk being denied ballots this year."

Getting accurate identification has been an old challenge for transgender people. Many states have overcome this problem by modernizing their laws on updating drivers licenses, making voting more accessible to transgender people. However, the passage of dozens of new voter ID laws and strict photo ID requirements will now make it much harder for many transgender people to vote.

"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 marginalized Americans, many of whom are transgender people of color, who may also be low income, elderly or have a disability."

NCTE and GLAAD, one of our "Voting While Trans" campaign partners, 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. While it is not required in order to vote, transgender people who are able to update their photo ID are encouraged to do so.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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