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Rough sleepers urged to vote

April 02 2010
You can vote, even if you do not have a permanent address, says the Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission is reminding homeless people that they can vote at the next general election, even if they do not have a permanent address.

The Commission, the independent elections watchdog, has teamed up with umbrella organisation Homeless Link to publicise the voting rights of homeless people via the internet and by placing posters in shelters, hostels and B&Bs.

Peter Wardle, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, said: "People eligible to vote who are living in temporary accommodation may not realise that they can still register and vote using their temporary address.

"By displaying this poster and providing a point of contact, accommodation managers can encourage those who are often disconnected from society to have their say."

Homeless people can register to vote in the general election - expected to take place on 6 May - by contacting their local Electoral Registration Office and giving their temporary address.  

Those with no fixed address can complete a 'declaration of local connection' form, also available from their local Electoral Registration Office, which asks where they might have lived in the past or the address of a day centre they attend.

Homeless Link chief executive Jenny Edwards said: "We believe it is crucial that those who are experiencing homelessness use their political voice to influence the environment in which they live and the services they use."

She added: "We welcome the recognition of the importance of homeless people's votes and are working to increase awareness of voter registration procedures. Homeless Link believes that 2010 is an opportunity to raise homelessness on the political agenda and highlight the importance of the excellent work taking place in the sector.

"We are providing support and advice to our members in the run up to the election and are working with local and national government to ensure that the issue of homelessness is visible and recognised at this important time."

To find out more, visit Homeless Link or find the address of your nearest Electoral Registration Office.