[Hpn] Homeless set to miss out on vote

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sun, 29 Jul 2007 10:53:30 -0400


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http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/homeless-set-to-miss-out-on-vote/2=
007/07/29/1185647742375.html

Homeless set to miss out on vote

Ben Doherty

July 30, 2007

  a.. Off the streets, now Peter hopes he's on a roll=20
UP TO 60,000 homeless people across Australia could be excluded from =
voting at this year's federal election - a number larger than some =
electorates.

A survey by Hanover Welfare Services of 208 homeless people in Melbourne =
found that 60 per cent of eligible people did not vote at last year's =
state election, the vast majority because they were not enrolled.

Extrapolated across the homeless population of about 100,000 people, it =
is estimated that 60,000 could be without a voice on polling day.

Former governor-general Sir William Deane told Hanover the statistics =
were "deeply disturbing" for two reasons.

"The first reason is that, in a true democracy such as ours, the views =
of the electorate are important in framing both political views and =
policies. If most of the people directly affected by homelessness in our =
country . do not participate in the political process, the needs and =
interests of the homeless are less likely to carry the weight that they =
should," Sir William said.

The second reason, he said, was disenfranchisement - not being able to =
vote is another factor cutting people off from society "and a further =
cause of the lack of self-esteem", furthering their downward spiral.

Hanover chief executive Tony Keenan said the low voter turnout among the =
homeless was symbolic of wider disengagement with society.

Sixty-three per cent of those who did not vote were not enrolled.

"It is a fundamental test of how a society views people, that the effort =
is made to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to have their say," =
Mr Keenan said.

The Hanover study found more men (71 per cent) failed to vote than women =
(50 per cent), and that people in crisis housing were less likely to =
vote (80 per cent did not vote) than those in transitional housing (54 =
per cent).

Mr Keenan said there was no legal impediment to homeless people voting.

"There are provisions for people who are itinerant to vote. They're =
complicated but people need to know they can vote. Fourteen per cent of =
the 100,000 people who are homeless on any given night in Australia are =
sleeping rough, they can be hard to get to, but we have contact with =
them, and the law does allow them to vote."

And as the survey, found most wanted to vote. Only a quarter of those =
surveyed said they were "not interested in the election" and just 3 per =
cent said they did not vote because they were disillusioned with =
politics.

Mr Keenan said the homeless voter rate could improve with simple =
initiatives, such as having polling booths in crisis housing centres to =
ensure every enrolled voter was able to cast a ballot.

An Australian Electoral Commission spokesman said the commission was =
aware of the need to tackle homeless disenfranchisement and was =
developing programs to ensure as many people as possible could vote.

www.aec.gov.au

















William Charles Tinker=20
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com=20


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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/homeless-set-to-miss-out-o=
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<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Homeless set to miss out on vote</DIV>
<DIV><!--articleTools Top--></DIV>
<DIV class=3DarticleDetails>
<DIV><BYLINE>Ben Doherty</DIV>
<DIV></BYLINE><BR><DATE>July 30, =
2007</DATE><BR></DIV><!--bylineDetails--></DIV><!--articleDetails-->
<DIV class=3DarticleExtras-wrap>
<DIV class=3Darticle-links id=3Didrelatedcoverage-top>
<UL>
  <LI><A=20
  =
href=3D"http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/off-the-streets-now-peter-=
hopes-hes-on-a-roll/2007/07/29/1185647742378.html">Off=20
  the streets, now Peter hopes he's on a roll</A> =
</LI></UL></DIV></DIV><!--articleExtras-wrap--><BOD>
<P>UP TO 60,000 homeless people across Australia could be excluded from =
voting=20
at this year's federal election =97 a number larger than some =
electorates.</P>
<P>A survey by Hanover Welfare Services of 208 homeless people in =
Melbourne=20
found that 60 per cent of eligible people did not vote at last year's =
state=20
election, the vast majority because they were not enrolled.</P>
<P>Extrapolated across the homeless population of about 100,000 people, =
it is=20
estimated that 60,000 could be without a voice on polling day.</P>
<P>Former governor-general Sir William Deane told Hanover the statistics =
were=20
"deeply disturbing" for two reasons.</P>
<P>"The first reason is that, in a true democracy such as ours, the =
views of the=20
electorate are important in framing both political views and policies. =
If most=20
of the people directly affected by homelessness in our country =85 do =
not=20
participate in the political process, the needs and interests of the =
homeless=20
are less likely to carry the weight that they should," Sir William =
said.</P>
<P>The second reason, he said, was disenfranchisement =97 not being able =
to vote=20
is another factor cutting people off from society "and a further cause =
of the=20
lack of self-esteem", furthering their downward spiral.</P>
<P>Hanover chief executive Tony Keenan said the low voter turnout among =
the=20
homeless was symbolic of wider disengagement with society.</P>
<P>Sixty-three per cent of those who did not vote were not enrolled.</P>
<P>"It is a fundamental test of how a society views people, that the =
effort is=20
made to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to have their say," Mr =
Keenan=20
said.</P>
<P>The Hanover study found more men (71 per cent) failed to vote than =
women (50=20
per cent), and that people in crisis housing were less likely to vote =
(80 per=20
cent did not vote) than those in transitional housing (54 per cent).</P>
<P>Mr Keenan said there was no legal impediment to homeless people =
voting.</P>
<P>"There are provisions for people who are itinerant to vote. They're=20
complicated but people need to know they can vote. Fourteen per cent of =
the=20
100,000 people who are homeless on any given night in Australia are =
sleeping=20
rough, they can be hard to get to, but we have contact with them, and =
the law=20
does allow them to vote."</P>
<P>And as the survey, found most wanted to vote. Only a quarter of those =

surveyed said they were "not interested in the election" and just 3 per =
cent=20
said they did not vote because they were disillusioned with =
politics.</P>
<P>Mr Keenan said the homeless voter rate could improve with simple =
initiatives,=20
such as having polling booths in crisis housing centres to ensure every =
enrolled=20
voter was able to cast a ballot.</P>
<P>An Australian Electoral Commission spokesman said the commission was =
aware of=20
the need to tackle homeless disenfranchisement and was developing =
programs to=20
ensure as many people as possible could vote.</P><!--PROMOTION-->
<P><A href=3D"http://www.aec.gov.au">www.aec.gov.au</A></P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P></BOD>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>William Charles Tinker <BR>New =
Hampshire Homeless=20
<BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 =
USA=20
<BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights. =
<BR>1-603-286-2492=20
<BR><A =
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">newhampshirehom=
eless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
</FONT></DIV>
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