Know Your Rights
Policy & Legislation
It’s In Your Power: VOTE!
October 12, 2018
In the last two years we should all have learned elections have consequences! Lately those consequences have fallen hard on trans/non-binary people (and immigrants, Muslims, sexual assault survivors, and and and…) You, however, have one very powerful tool for helping shape your own and our collective future: your vote.
Don’t surrender it! Use it! But be quick about it…some key deadlines are this week!
- Are you registered to vote at your current address? If the answer is no or if you’re not sure, go to https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/RegisterToVote. That’s where you can get a mail-in registration form. You can also change the name and/or address on your existing registration here. Note that while you will need to send them a copy of your identification card, they won’t be matching it against your looks if you file by mail. Registration form needs to be postmarked by October 17. (You can register the day you show up to vote, as well, although that means risking a hassle if your ID doesn’t match your appearance.) If you are going to vote in person, this website can also direct you to your polling place.
- You will need identification to vote. The list of acceptable identification is available under #7 here: http://www.aclu-wi.org/story/answers-some-voter-registration-questions Poll workers have been told to just check if ID “reasonably resembles” the person showing the ID (driver’s licenses are good for 8 years, for instance, and many of us change quite a bit within that time frame).
- Absentee voting. If your ID doesn’t match your current appearance, consider absentee voting. You will have to submit a copy of an ID with your ballot, but there will be no way to check that ID against your current appearance. Note that absentee ballots require careful attention to directions (you’ll need a witness, for example) and must be received by November 6. The post office recommends you mail your ballot a week in advance. To request an absentee ballot, go to http://www.gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/absentee.
- Early voting. Another way to lessen your chances of being hassled if you want to vote in person is to do early voting at your city hall or other designated place. Particularly if you live in Milwaukee, these full-time professionals may be more able to handle transgender voters whose ID doesn’t match their appearance. You can find more information here: https://866ourvote.org/state/wisconsin/#1520425464592-0f0faec4-f736
- Hassles at the polls. If you vote in person on November 6 and encounter any problems, here are your resources:
- There is a “chief inspector” at every poll who is empowered to resolve problems.
- You can call the National Election Protection hotline at 866 OUR VOTE. (866-687-8683)
- Tweet to @epwisco for Wisconsin ACLU help
- Facebook: Wisconsin Election Protection for Wisconsin ACLU help
- Email email@example.com for Wisconsin ACLU help
- More information.
Finally, consider making voting a social event. No vote counts more than another, which means the more trans/non-binary/ally individuals we help vote, the better off we are. Consider asking a buddy (or several) to vote with you. On Election Day (November 6) consider organizing a party where the admission ticket is an “I voted” sticker.