Should the government require shelters to be acceptable addresses for obtaining a voter ID?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

The Unhoused Voter Opportunity Through Elections (Unhoused VOTE or UVOTE) Act establishes that no individual may be denied the right to vote due to their housing status. To uphold this right, the bill requires shelters and informal residences to be considered acceptable addresses for obtaining a voter ID and provides grants to states and organizations to enhance the accessibility of voting for unhoused individuals. Sponsor: Rep. Nikema Williams (Democrat, Georgia, District 5)
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Opponents say

•    "From the perspective of partisan activists, the US states are battlegrounds; the future of democracy depends on how policymakers act on issues such as no-excuse mail voting, early voting, automatic registration, voter identification, felon disenfranchisement, and so on. And yet, there is little evidence in the scholarly record suggesting contemporary election rules affect political outcomes. Most laws barely make a dent on voter turnout, let alone on who wins or loses." Source: Justin Grimmer (Professor of Political Science, Stanford University) and Eitan Hersh (Professor of Political Science, Tufts University) in a 2023 joint study of the impacts of election laws on voter turnout

Proponents say

•    "The Unhoused VOTE Act and Voters on the Move Registration Act of 2023 are closely aligned with the mission of NLIHC’s Our Homes, Our Votes campaign, a nonpartisan initiative to boost voter turnout among low-income renters and educate candidates about housing solutions. Renters consistently register and turn out to vote at lower rates than homeowners, in part because they move more frequently than homeowners and must re-register to vote at their new address (see Memo, 5/15). Voter turnout disparities are even greater between low-income citizens and high-income citizens, largely due to obstacles such as voter identification requirements, transportation barriers, and inflexible schedules. Closing the voter turnout gap is essential to building the political will for housing solutions that serve the lowest-income people." Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

•    "Every citizen of this great nation deserves the right to make their voice heard in our democracy—and there should be no exception for Americans that are temporarily unhoused or who choose to live in nontraditional housing. Whether or not someone has fallen on hard times financially should not determine that individual’s ability to participate in elections, and the Unhoused VOTE Act will help to ensure that is no longer the case for Americans facing housing instability. As someone who has spent their life advocating for the expansion and protection of voting rights for all Americans, I’m proud to introduce this long overdue legislation with Rep. Williams and fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives." Source: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Democrat, Missouri, District 5), cosponsor of the bill

•    "As we mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, we face the same struggle for voting rights as the freedom fighters who convened on the national mall in 1963 fighting for jobs and freedom. All of our rights and basic freedoms come from free and fair access to the ballot.  Every generation has an obligation to move our country one step forward. My legislative package takes a major step to ensuring everyone has free and fair access to the ballot. As Jim Crow 2.0 continues to rise across the country, we urgently need comprehensive national standards to protect voting rights for everyone—no matter your ZIP Code, no matter your bank account." Source: Rep. Nikema Williams (Democrat, Georgia, District 5), sponsor of the resolution