The Maryland State Board of Elections will soon allow people to choose "X" or "unspecified" as a gender, instead of male or female, on their voter registration.
The move comes as state Motor Vehicle Administration prepares to offer the third option for gender on driver’s licenses and state identification cards, in response to a new state law.
Some lawmakers and advocates in the LGBTQ community have pushed for government agencies to recognize residents who are “nonbinary” — meaning they don’t identify as either male or female. Driver’s licenses and ID cards are particularly important to individuals who are nonbinary, as they are used frequently — not only for driving, but also for identification in banking, housing and employment.
Palakovich Carr said she got the idea while taking a training class from Montgomery County elections officials for registering voters. The cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville have elections coming up this fall, and Palakovich Carr plans to register voters in hopes of boosting participation.
“In looking at the voter registration forms, I saw that gender is a required field and the only options are ‘M’ or ‘F,’ ” Palakovich Carr said.
The state’s elections board voted unanimously at its meeting last week to authorize the elections staff to make the necessary changes, said David J. McManus Jr., the board chairman. There was no opposition, and no one raised concerns, he said.