All poll workers in California will be trained on how to properly interact with and assist transgender and gender-nonconforming voters when they cast ballots.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) announced the new initiative last week, saying his office is partnering with the Equality California Institute ahead of next year’s presidential primary.
The training will provide county registrars with materials detailing best practices for assisting voters whose “gender identity, expression, or pronouns don’t match their name on the voter rolls,” according to a news release from Padilla’s office.
Clear signage such as brochures and posters regarding voters’ rights will also be present at all polling locations.
The move, the first of its kind in the country, is an attempt to better accommodate the 218,400 Californians who identify as transgender, according to data from by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law provided in the release.
“Elections officials have a duty to facilitate the participation of all eligible voters. By partnering with Equality California we can benefit from their expertise and experience to better train poll workers and ensure a welcoming voting environment for LGBTQ citizens. California is proud to be proactive in protecting the voting rights of LGBTQ voters and fostering an inclusive democracy,” Padilla said in the release.
Voters in the state do not need to provide identification in order to vote, though many transgender and gender-nonconforming voters may be registered under a name that does not match their gender presentation.
“No one should be denied the right to vote because of their gender identity or expression — and there’s certainly too much at stake next year to let that happen in California,” Equality California Institute Executive Director Rick Zbur said in the news release.
The training and instructional material will be in place as California votes in the presidential primary on March 3.