Video: Homeless voting outreach effort falls flat in Leicester
By Abigail Beresford, Andrew Picknell and Sara Pereira
With the Christmas general election fast approaching, national efforts made to encouraged the homeless to vote have not seen much traction in Leicester.
With only 2% of the homeless registered to vote, grass roots initiatives in Bristol and Cardiff have been underway to encourage voter registration for those people without fixed accommodation.
On speaking to Leicester locals on the value of the franchise, city businesses seem unaware of their potential for offering proxy registration to those living on the streets or in semi-permanent accommodation.
Outreach worker Patrick Harris of city-based homeless charity The Bridge acknowledged that they don’t necessarily promote the franchise.
“If people come and ask us, then of course we will help. We ask them to sign a consent form but we also then might get post addressed to them and we must have to then redirect the post, if they do not regularly use the centre”.
Together with such potential practical problems of the proxy address, it seems that the complex problems faced by the homeless themselves will often work against prioritising rightful access to the franchise.
With the election approaching, the irony is that their future will likely be determined by politicians and voters with whom they have little direct contact.