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California Launches Program To Protect Transgender Voting Rights

KPBS Staff
A "Vote Here" sign hangs on the San Diego County Registrar Of Voters Office, Nov. 6, 2018.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla partners with Equality California Institute to train poll workers on how to engage with voters whose gender identity, expression or pronouns do not appear to match their name on the voter rolls.

With California’s March primary election approaching, a new initiative aims to boost LGBTQ participation in 2020.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced a first of its kind partnership with the civil rights organization Equality California to train poll workers to make it easier for transgender and gender nonconforming voters to cast ballots.


While California voters are mostly not required to show identification at the polls, there have been reports of transgender voters, whose gender expression does not match their name on the voter rolls, being asked to produce an identification to vote. California election officials worry those situations could keep transgender voters home on election day.

"This is the first time that there has been a statewide program and we are hoping that this will be a model for secretaries of states and other states to follow," said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.

RELATED: What You Need To Know To Vote In California’s Presidential Primary

Secretary Padilla and Equality California plan to work to develop best practices for poll workers, educate voters on their rights and boost civic engagement among the LGBTQ community.

Zbur joined Midday Edition to talk about the new program.