how are transients barred from voting, even if they are citizens?
Today, homeless individuals in all states have the right to register and vote. [ In most states, when registering to vote homeless voters only need to designate their place of residence, which can be a street corner, a park, a shelter, or any other location where an individual stays at night. A citizen may only have one residency during registration, but they may switch their residency each time
they change locations. Acquiring residency is needed to prove that the citizen lives within the district he or she wishes to vote in. Some states also need a mailing address to send out the voter ID card, which that individual will have to show on Election Day. Some states will allow individuals to use PO Boxes; other states allow the provided address to be that of a local shelter, advocacy organization, outreach center, or anywhere else that accepts mail on behalf of a person registering to vote. States like Arizona and Nebraska allow homeless citizens to use county court houses or county clerks’ offices as mailing address.
Homeless individuals face another obstacle during voter registration, they must now provide their driver’s license number, or the last four digits of their Social Security Number on their voter registration form. This has been enforced since 2002, when President Bush passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This law was passed as a reaction to the growing election administrative problems. HAVA was set up as a solution because of the issues of the 2000 election.
The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) assists nonprofit organizations, in getting lower income and homeless citizens registered to vote. In 1992, the NCH set up a campaign called “You don’t need a home to vote.” This campaign provided useful resources and guidelines for nonprofit organizations to follow when assisting citizens to register. Nonprofits, like homeless shelters and food banks set up a voter registration party to help homeless citizens to register. ]
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