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Strict Voter ID Laws Threaten the Franchise of Trans Americans

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By November of 2018, Natalee Fisher was well into her transition. For nearly a year, she had seen a therapist and begun hormone treatments. Her business partner and employees were used to her appearance in heels, painted nails, and blonde hair at StickyLife, their small decal and sticker business in Raleigh, North Carolina. To all who knew her, she was a 39-year-old woman.

Then November 6th, Election Day, arrived.

Fisher panicked. She wanted to vote, but worried about the reaction from neighbors and poll workers when she showed up as a woman while her driver’s license read “Nathaniel.” Usually, in states with more lenient voter ID laws, like North Carolina at the time, poll workers would primarily verify that the address listed on the ID matched the ID listed on the voter roll, and not necessarily scope for corresponding gender. But as a trans woman, Natalee’s fears abounded about the complications that could arise given that her ID’s listed gender was different from her gender presentation.

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