California Opens First Transgender Voting Center

California Opens First Transgender Voting Center

Voters cast their ballots in Los Angeles on June 5, 2018. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

3/1/2024

Updated: 3/3/2024

Los Angeles County held a celebration for the nation’s first transgender voting center Feb. 29.
Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis attended the event with local leaders at the Connie Normal Transgender Empowerment Center.
“By providing a safe and affirming space for the transgender community to exercise their fundamental right to vote, we are breaking down barriers and ensuring every Californian has equal access to the ballot box,” Ms. Kounalakis said in a press release.
The county has not had any reports of incidents involving transgender voters in the past, according to Mike Sanchez, a spokesman for the county’s registrar.
Any member of the public can vote at the center, Mr. Sanchez told California Insider.
The site is one of 644 vote centers scheduled to open Saturday ahead of the state’s March 5 primary, giving voters a choice of several different locations to cast a vote.
Unlike precinct voting, vote centers allow the public to vote from anywhere in the county.
Voters can also drop off their mail-in ballots at the vote centers.
Transgender advocates applauded Thursday’s announcement.
“I couldn’t be prouder that L.A.’s Fifth Council District is now home to the first voting center in the nation located in a transgender facility,” said City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavky. “As extremists across the country continue their endless attacks on both the LGBT Community and our democracy, Los Angeles must stand as a beacon of hope.”
The Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center, a creation of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is a facility that provides services for transgender and nonbinary individuals on North Martel Avenue in Los Angeles.
The center was named after Connie Norman, known as the “AIDS DIVA,” a transgender and AIDS activist who died in 1996. The center is home to several trans-led organizations.
Queen Victoria Ortega, president of the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness, a service center for Los Angeles’s transgender community, said the center provides a safe space for the transgender community.
“Fighting to provide a safe and welcoming place for our transgender and nonbinary siblings is exactly why the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center exists,” Ms. Ortega said in a statement.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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