Monday, July 18, 2005

Votes cast by homeless people do count!

A challenge to the votes of homeless people was thrown out of court in Racine, Wisconsin.

After losing an April election by three votes, the incumbent alderman questioned the legitimacy of 15 votes cast by homeless people from a shelter program that rotates among seven different locations.

State law requires a person spend at least 10 consecutive days in the place they claim is their residency to be able to vote. Nevertheless, the Wisconsin Elections Board’s policy provides: "Homeless individuals may designate a fixed location for their residence for voting purposes if it is an identifiable location in the state of Wisconsin which could conceivably serve as a temporary residence."

"Here, no Contested Voter slept for ten consecutive nights prior to the election at the St. Paul Baptist Church," the judge wrote in her decision. "If sleeping in the same place were required, petitioners could never establish a residence because they rotated their place of sleeping among the [shelter] sites. If that were required, they would lose their most important franchise as citizens - the right to vote."

Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article here and the Racine Journal Times article here.

Previous posts here and here.


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