Media Contact

Janna Farley,

May 28, 2024

Voting is a fundamental right of our democracy. The decisions made in city halls, state legislatures, the United States Congress and every other level of government affect the lives of all North Dakotans.

But our democracy works best when every eligible North Dakota voter can cast a ballot. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have an important voice and the right to vote free of discrimination and harassment.

That’s why the ACLU of North Dakota has released a tip sheet for North Dakota’s election workers that details best practices for interacting with gender non-conforming, non-binary and transgender voters. The tip sheet was distributed to all county auditors in the state to share with their precinct workers and volunteers ahead of the primary election on June 11.

“Voting is a key component of civic engagement. It is how our voices are heard around key issues and elections,” said Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager. “As transgender North Dakotans become more visible in our society, it’s important that poll workers have the information they need to serve all North Dakota voters in a respectful way. We expect poll workers to be educated and trained so that trans voters are not disenfranchised because of administrative or other barriers at polling places.” 

The one-page document includes definitions of transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary and provides guidance that can help precinct workers create a welcoming environment and protect eligible voters’ rights to cast a ballot. Advice ranges from avoiding terms like ma’am or sir to expecting that someone’s outward appearance may differ from what a precinct worker thinks when reading a name on the voting list. 

The resources sent to every county auditor in North Dakota underscore the need for a welcoming approach to Election Day to ensure every North Dakota voter is treated with dignity and respect as they exercise their right to vote. 

The tip sheet for poll workers is below.

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.