Transgender voters in the UK have reported that they’ve been unable to register for the upcoming general election on June 8, Pink News reports.
Trans citizens who have legally changed their name say the registration system does not account for them and are presented with an error message when they enter their National Insurance (NI) number.
“You register to vote online – or at least I tried,” says one transgender man. “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'."
He continued: “So basically an error kept occurring where I needed to enter a different national insurance number, which I don’t have. It feels like I’m not a person, it just feels like I’m less than everyone else.”
Pink News says the ‘protected error’ refers to a number that can be used by people who wish to remain anonymous—such as celebrities or crime victims.
However, having a protected number means transgender voters have to prove their identity and obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.
“I can’t register because I can’t ‘prove my identity’, even though I have documents," said the same transgender man, whose name was withheld. "Because I don’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate it’s not enough.”
However, the Electoral Commission insists the process is straightforward.
“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,” a spokesperson said.