How to Vote: A Guide for Trans and Gender-Diverse People

At Deschamps-Braly Clinic, we support all eligible citizens being able to exercise their right to vote. In this important election year, we’ve prepared this overview to help trans and gender-diverse American citizens exercise their constitutional right to vote.

If You Have Already Changed Your Name And Gender

Adult US citizens who have already changed their identity documents can visit the website maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS).

NASS has a section called Can I Vote that has information on how and when to register and vote in your state or territory of residence, as well as information on how to change name and gender on an existing registration.

If You Are An American Citizen Living Outside The United States

Service members, their families, and overseas citizens should consult the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Registering To Vote

Before you can vote, you must be registered to vote in most US states and territories. Many places have a registration deadline before the next election.

You register in the state or territory where you legally reside. Many young adults in continuing education are still legally residing with their parents, even if their school is in another state. Your legal residence is usually the address you list on your tax return.

The legal name you use to register must match the legal name on your government identification documents. If you have not changed your name and gender legally, Advocates for Transgender Equality has a section on how to change your identity documents.

In many states you can register with a political party affiliation, which allows you to vote in primary elections. You can also usually choose independent or no affiliation.

After you have registered, you will get a confirmation from the state. Be sure to keep this for when you are ready to vote.

The Voting Process

Most states and territories offer several ways to vote. You may find that some ways are more convenient and less stressful than others.

  • By mailed ballot: Many trans and gender diverse voters prefer this option. Your state or territory will mail you a ballot that you can fill out and return. This allows you to take your time filling out your ballot, and you can research ballot initiatives and candidates you don’t know. You can complete it when you are ready, as long as it is returned or postmarked before polls close on Election Day. You may have the option to drop off your ballot in person, so check with your county or parish for options.
  • Early voting in person: Most states and territories offer early in-person voting, usually a week or more before Election Day. Movement Advancement Project has a map that shows each state’s current rules. Early voting usually takes less time and is less stressful than voting on Election Day. Election workers will be under less pressure, so this is often better for trans and gender diverse voters.
  • Voting in person on Election Day: All states and territories allow this. Your voter information packet mailed to you before Election Day should show where you need to go to vote. If you are not sure, has a Polling Place Locator. Note: you may have to wait in line, so make sure you leave plenty of time. If you are in line before the polls close, they have to let you vote.

What To Bring

If you decide to vote in person, it is a good idea for trans and gender diverse voters to bring more documentation than most voters bring. Some volunteer poll workers may not know all the rules for trans and gender diverse citizens. You should bring:

  • The kind of ID that is required
  • Your voter registration confirmation document
  • A utility bill showing the same name and the address on your registration
  • Other IDs if you have them, like a passport, social security card, birth certificate
  • The Voting While Trans PDF, printed or on your phone, to show to poll workers

If You Need Help

The US Election Assistance Commission offers a National Mail Voter Registration Form in 21 languages.

You can also contact the nearest LGBTQ community center. They can often help with identity documents and voter registration. In 2024, the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center in Los Angeles opened America’s first transgender voting center.

If you don’t have a way to get to the polls on Election Day, Rideshare2Vote can help, and apps like Lyft and Uber often offer free or discounted rides to the polls.

Deschamps-Braly Clinic is proud to support you in making your voice heard, exercising your rights, and hope that this is helpful in providing guidance.

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Dr. Deschamps-Braly is a board-certified plastic and craniofacial surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, and craniofacial surgery for adults and children. He is also one of the world’s foremost leaders and innovators in facial gender confirmation surgery.