National Voter Registration Day

We could use your help with registering people to vote.  We tentatively have County Councilman Dale Miller and State Rep. Mike Foley attending.  We will have Natoya Walker Minor representing the Mayor and we hope to have a Cleveland City Council member.  We want this to be a motivational event to encourage homeless people to vote.   Come and listen to these community leader or help register homeless people to participate in democracy.

Brian Davis

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Homeless Voting Press Release and Report

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless spent a great deal of time in 2012 assisting homeless people to vote. We worked on our identification lawsuit to assure that a homeless person who shows up to vote in person on Election Day without identification, they should have the opportunity to vote.  We also drove hundreds over to the Board of Elections early to vote.  State Rep Nickie Antonio and State Senator Nina Turner monitor Board of Elections on Saturday November 3, 2012 We registered thousands within the shelters between the shelter staff and NEOCH staff and volunteers.  We also physically took over 200 people to vote and registered over 300.  We are championing how many people of the 300 we registered actually voted (93%!!!!). 

We released the report on voting a month ago on our website and we have sent this press release around in an attempt to dispel the myths that homeless people do not care and do not vote.   We call attention to the remarkable number of our voters who voted on the weekend before the Election in November (77%).   We have sent the report around to County and City officials.  We have circulated it among the shelters.  We have met with Board of Elections officials to plan for the 2014 statewide election.   We are working on a procedure for educating people at the front door of the shelters and provide them the form to change their address when they leave the shelter.  

Bottom line is homeless people want to be a part of our democracy.  They realize that they need to participate because the decisions made in Columbus and Washington will have a dramatic effect on their housing, availability of jobs, or access to Medicaid.  We would love to have every shelter in the country spend some time securing access to voting.  It only makes sense that when a person loses their housing and shows up at a shelter they probably need to notify the Board of Elections that they will have to change their address.

Brian Davis

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Voting Success in Last Election

Homeless People Do Vote

We are working on compiling the numbers from the last election, and so we are looking at homeless participation in the 2012 Presidential election.  We had a great response to voting by those sleeping in the shelters and were newly registered.  The NEOCH staff signed up 322 voters from July through October, and 93%  of those we registered actually voted.  This is a powerful number proving that homeless people do in fact vote.  To show how important it is to have as many early voting hours as possible only 2 out of the 322 people voted on Election Day.  Nearly all the homeless individuals voted by mail or at the Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County. 

These were the registration cards that NEOCH staff handled.   We are also looking at the voters registered by the shelters in Cleveland.  We will have those numbers in the next week.   These individuals who have lost their housing, their jobs and most of their material possessions took the time to register to vote and then they showed up to be counted.   Almost everyone who registered while staying in a shelter then showed up to vote.  

We took a Vietnam era who had never voted in the past over to vote during Golden week when his buddies at the VA Hospital Transitional shelter were also going.  

We took a woman who got into housing between the registration deadline and Election Day.  We took her over to vote on Election Day and she was terrified that she would not be allowed to vote.  She had never voted before and she was a devout Muslim who wore a vail.  She was worried because her ID did not have her new address and she did not want to take off her vail to prove her identity.   The poll workers were great and kind to her and she had no problem voting.  She started crying on the way back to her apartment. 

We had a voter who cast an early vote at the Board of Elections and almost talked himself out of being able to vote.  He had become homeless in between the time he had registered and when he was voting.  He kept trying to clarify with the poll worker that he was homeless now and so was not at that address.  He finally voted after not having voted for years.

We had homeless people who waited in line for 45 minutes on the Sunday before the election to vote, and a woman who made sure that her roommates at the Community Women's Shelter all completed their mail in ballot as soon as they arrived at the shelter. 

Brian Davis

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