Monday, October 1, 2012

Homeless Does Not Mean Voteless

Image Source: AIGA GOTV Gallery
Designer: Anthony Anaya
It's National Homeless and Low-Income Voter Registration Week, an event sponsored by the The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) during each presidential election since 1992. 

NCH is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To prevent and end homelessness while ensuring individuals' immediate needs are met and their civil rights protected.

To complement their registration efforts in 2012, NCH has updated their voter registration manual, You Don't Need a Home to Vote, to help clarify rules around ballot access for individuals currently experiencing homelessness.

Housing status does not dictate registration status. Make sure members of your community currently experiencing homelessness know their rights and are registered ahead of your state deadline!


cv/d said...

This is the most naive post I've read in a couple months.

Uhm... how can the homeless vote, if most of them don't have "proper"/current ID, a physical address with which to get state IDs, or a mailing address in which to receive the documents required to prove citizenship (like replacements for lost copies of birth certificates) or to receive official elections correspondence.

It's even worse when law enforcement confiscates photo ID.

Sophie Lehman said...

It's true that persons currently experiencing homelessness often face additional barriers to registering to vote--but the point is that being homeless is itself not a barrier.

You don't need a traditional residence to register and can often simply indicate a location on a map. When registering, voters have the option of providing a separate mailing address and since most shelters allow clients to direct all personal mail to their address, this allows them to receive official election correspondence as well. Voters can also choose to use the address of a friend, family member, or other location.

ID requirements vary by state, so please see NCH's guide for additional details and state-specific solutions.

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