In England and Wales, homeowners are far more likely to be registered to vote than those living in rented accommodation or in temporary homeless accommodation. It is a common misconception that a fixed address is required to register to vote; in fact anyone, homeless or not, is entitled to register as long as they are eligible. This is a balance that we must redress if we want to live in a fairer, more equal society.
Housing, the NHS, education, local government and the economy are all areas that are controlled by the Welsh Government. Almost all matters impacting on people in Wales who find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness are dealt with in Wales – with the exception of the benefits system.
The Welsh Assembly Election on the 5th May will decide who governs Wales for the next five years, giving them the power to make a world of difference to the lives of homeless people. That’s why it’s vital that our residents and service users know their right to vote.
We will be holding a series of events across Wales in conjunction with the Electoral Commission, starting with the National Voter Registration Drive 1st-7th February, to encourage voter registration in the lead up to the 5th May.
Changes to voter registration mean that each individual must register online or on paper using their National Insurance number, rather than the old system of registering each household. This has the potential to cause thousands of people to drop off the electoral roll and why it is so important that we, as an organisation, encourage people to register.
As well as encouraging our residents and service users, we would also encourage other eligible persons with an interest in homelessness and related policy to register and use their vote in the upcoming Welsh Assembly election.
You can register online to vote by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote