Monday, May 22, 2017

UK Suppressing the Vote of Trans People

Voter suppression isn't just a thing that happens in the U.S. against people of color and the poors! The process to register to vote in the U.K. is preventing trans people from being able to represent their interests, and the deadline to vote in the upcoming general election is today.

Trans people are being blocked from registering to vote in the general election

The man, who preferred not to be identified, told ‘You register to vote online – or at least I tried. When I put in my details and my new name that I changed a year ago, and when it got to the NI number part of the process every time I entered it, it said “this national insurance number has been protected”. 
‘So basically an error kept occurring where I needed to enter a different national insurance number, which I don’t have. When I think about it is funny – because I still get taxed.’ 
He added: ‘It feels like I’m not a person, it just feels like I’m less than everyone else.

This is some bullshit that shouldn't happen at all, but trans people aren't even being informed of a work-around that would allow them to vote.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson told us: ‘It is possible to register to vote without a National Insurance Number and the Electoral Commission provides local authorities with comprehensive guidance that outlines the processes they should follow if an applicant does not supply them with one.’ 
But, when the young trans guy we chatted with approached his council, he claims they were none the wiser. He said: ‘We’ve contacted our councils too, they just didn’t know what to do. I can’t register because I can’t “prove my identity”, even though I have documents. Because I don’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate it’s not enough.’ 
A GRC is a document that provides legal recognition of a person’s gender identity.

There's no reason why this should be a thing. I'm assuming voter fraud is the same level of problem in the U.K. as it is here, which is none. There are a million reasons to change one's name and it's fine for the form to ask but it should be as simple as putting in your previous name and then the government can do the work to verify it instead of making voting more difficult for trans people and other citizens. Get it together, U.K.

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