how to register to vote if you’re trans
Trans people in the UK are being blocked from voting in the general election this June. Here’s how to make sure you get your voice heard.
In order to be eligible to vote in June's upcoming general election, you must be on the electoral roll. While politicians, political campaigners, and media outlets encourage voter registration above all else, for many transgender people in the UK this will prove difficult. In December 2014, trans campaigners, including Helen Belcher of the Liberal Democrats, appealed to the Cabinet Office team to implore them to abandon the compulsory provision of any previous names in order to register to vote. No reforms were made, and today in order to register online you have to provide your previous name or names: something that can prove both difficult and dangerous for many trans men and women.
For security reasons, many trans people's National Insurance Numbers also fall under the category of 'protected'. This means your application to vote will be rejected outright as the online system will be unable to recognise your National Insurance Number.
Don't fret however. While the current voter registration system was designed without the safety of trans people in mind, there are still steps you can take if you are transgender and finding it difficult to register to vote.
First up, contact your local authority Elections Office and ask for the telephone number or email address of your electoral roll's administrator. Next, contact them explaining that your National Insurance Number is protected, or that you wish to vote under your new name. You may be asked to provide verification of your name change in the form of scanned documents.
Even if the registration system eventually changes, there will likely be more red tape to navigate in the future. The Conservative Manifesto looks set to bring in legislation demanding ID in order to enter the polling booth in the hope of 'tackling electoral fraud'. Trans people will be disproportionately affected by this due to the costly and time-consuming nature of changing official documents, IDs and names by deed poll, which many trans people cannot afford.
Still need help in registering to vote? Stonewall have written an extensive guide on how to register, which you can read here.
Text Tom Rasmussen
Image via Flickr