New campaign launched to encourage homeless people and renters to vote
Shelter Scotland and the Electoral Commission have teamed up to encourage as many people as possible to register to vote following concerns that people with no fixed address or those renting their homes may not be aware of their right to vote.
Using a nine-foot inflatable ballot box, the organisations kicked off this year’s Scotland-wide voter registration campaign in Edinburgh yesterday to mark 100 days to go until the 5th May Scottish Parliament Election.
It is the fourth time the two organisations have teamed up to target people living in rented, homeless or temporary accommodation, as these groups are known to be among the most under-represented on the voting register.
Electoral Commission research found that only 63.3 per cent of those renting from a private landlord were registered to vote in 2014, compared to 93.6 per cent of people who own their home outright and 89.3 per cent who own their home with a mortgage.
The deadline for voter registration for the Scottish Parliament Election is 18 April 2016.
Graeme Brown, director of housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, said: “With only 100 days to go until the election, we are targeting the thousands of people across Scotland who are not on the electoral roll and therefore cannot currently vote.
“We’ve joined forces with the Electoral Commission to encourage people who may be living in rented accommodation, temporary housing or are homeless to register to vote and to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
“Shelter Scotland wants to make sure that whatever their circumstances people have the chance to vote and make their voice heard.”
Andy O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, added: “No one should miss out on voting in the Scottish Parliament election just because they rent or don’t have a permanent address. You can register using a temporary address or by making a declaration of local connection to register at a location where you spend a large proportion of your time. You will need to register by the deadline of 18 April to have your say so go online and do it now at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.”
People with no fixed address are entitled to vote on 5th May 2016 providing they are 16 years of age or over on polling day, a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the European Union and resident in Scotland. They can register by making a ‘declaration of local connection’ – which is a statement to the local electoral office to say where they spend most of their time. To find out more about registering to vote, people can visit aboutmyvote.co.uk or contact their local electoral registration office.