SAN DIEGO — California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced California will train poll workers to better engage and protect the voting rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming voters and their access to the ballot box.

“Every eligible voter has a right to cast a ballot free from any unnecessary burdens or intimidation,” said Padilla.

The initiative aims to boost the LGBTQ community’s participation in 2020. 

Poll workers will learn best practices to better engage with voters whose gender identity, expression or pronouns do not appear to match their name on the voter rolls.

"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,” said Padilla.

California voters are not required to show identification to a poll worker before casting a ballot; however, many transgender and gender-nonconforming voters may be registered and appear on the voter roll under a name that does not appear to “match” their gender identity, expression or the name and pronouns that they use.

“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,” said Equality California Institute Executive Director Rick Zbur.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimates approximately 0.76% of Californians — or 218,400 people — identify as transgender. Based on the overall numbers of eligible and registered California voters as of February 2019, that means there are likely at least 190,000 eligible voters and 150,000 registered voters statewide who identify as transgender.