Iowa Senate Passes Voter ID Bill Disenfranchising Transgender Voters

On Thursday, April 13, the Iowa Senate passed HF 516, a bill that requires voters to present photo identification documents at the polls. The bill passed with a 28-21 vote. The bill will now move to Gov. Terry Branstad’s desk.

One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel issued a statement on the bill’s passage.

“If this bill becomes law, it will disenfranchise many Iowa voters who may be members of the LGBTQ community like people of color, people with disabilities, elderly people, and others in a misguided attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” Hoffman-Zinnel said. “Transgender Iowans will face unique challenges at the polls due to how difficult obtaining identity documents that accurately reflect their name and gender can be. In fact, new Iowa-specific data from the National Center for Transgender Equality indicates transgender Iowans would be impacted by this law even more than we initially thought. We are appalled that the Iowa Senate has chosen to make exercising the right to vote far more difficult and potentially dangerous for some of their constituents.”

According to Iowa-specific data from the National Center for Transgender Equality’s National Transgender Discrimination Survey, only 11% of respondents reported that all of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred, while 81% reported that none of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred. Additionally, 31% of transgender Iowans responding to the survey reported being verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted when presenting identification that didn’t accurately reflect their name or gender, a situation transgender Iowans may find themselves in if HF 516 becomes law.