The Wallich has partnered with the Electoral Commission and together have launched a campaign to urge people to register to vote whatever their living situation. Ahead of important elections in Wales in May a number of events will be held in the run up to the voter registration deadline on the 18th April to highlight the need to register and answer any concerns people may have. The campaign was launched at the Sir Julian Hodge Centre, one of The Wallich Cardiff hostels, on Tuesday 23rd February. The Wallich clients from across Cardiff attended and the Electoral Commission brought along their three metre inflatable ballot box.
On Thursday 5 May people in Wales will go to the polls to vote in the National Assembly for wales and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. The deadline to vote in these elections is Monday 18 April 2016.
It is a widely held myth that people living in hostels or on the street cannot register to vote. This is completely untrue. People living in a hostel can register to that address through the online registration system or using a paper form. Those with no accommodation at all can still register using a paper form by providing information about where they spend most of their time or ‘a declaration of local connection’.
Antonia Watson, Chief Executive of The Wallich, said:
“With 10 weeks to go until the Welsh Assembly election and a referendum on membership of the EU on the horizon, it is vitally important that those without a home in Wales have their chance to take part in the democratic process.
Ensuring that our residents and clients have every chance to make their voices heard is at the core of everything we do at The Wallich. For many homeless people, registering to vote is at the bottom of their list of concerns and engaging with politics can feel well out of reach. However, it is regularly the most vulnerable in society who are the most affected by decisions made by those we elect to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.
The way people register to vote has changed and we are working tirelessly to ensure that all those we work with know their rights and have the opportunity to vote if they wish to do so. We have joined forces with the Electoral Commission to get the word out that if you’re not registered, you can’t vote”
Rhydian Thomas, Head of Electoral Commission, Wales, said:
“We are excited to work with The Wallich to promote voter registration and share useful advice for how people living in hostels or on the street can still have their say in May. I would also encourage anyone who’s eligible, but has not yet registered, to do so by going online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. If someone has no permanent address they can still register by completing a form and sending it to the electoral services department at their local authority.
“The Electoral Commission will be working with organisations like The Wallich to help reach those people less likely to be registered to vote. Joint activities like this, alongside our own public awareness campaign, which kicks off in March, are invaluable as a way to encourage voter registration.”
Anyone with access to the internet can register to vote in elections and referendums at gov.uk/register-to-vote
The deadline for registering to vote in the Welsh Assembly elections is 18th April.
The link to download a form for to register with no permanent address can be found here: Register To Vote
For more information on the Electoral Commission’s partnership work in Wales visit their website.