As of the publishing of this episode (Sept. 11), there are exactly 53 days until Election Day. That’s 7 and a half weeks. Less than 2 months.
To make sure every one of those days to count, we’ve launched our 2020 Election Action Guide, which we’re calling “Voting Is Not Enough.” Because…it’s just not.
From now until election day, we’ll be highlighting different ways you can be spending time and/or money to support a free and fair election, as well as Democrats down the ballot and all the way up to the Biden-Harris ticket.
As a reminder, we’ve already encouraged you to become a poll worker by heading to workelections.com, and made the case for getting involved in the get out the vote ground game NOW. All of this information can be accessed from the “Voting is Not Enough” banner at BestoftheLeft.com, or directly at BestoftheLeft.com/2020 Action.
Today, we’re talking about the many hurdles that face unhoused and low-income voters across the country and the organizations trying to help them access the ballot.
As you’ve heard in today’s episode, the country is facing a massive eviction crisis that will disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and people of color. There is no question that when facing the trauma of eviction and food insecurity the last thing people are thinking about is their voter registration. But these communities are the most vulnerable among us and therefore most impacted by the heartless decisions of Republicans and the current administration. While their present is being upended, they should have a voice when it comes to their future.
That’s why The Poor People’s Campaign has launched “We Must Do MORE”, MORE in this case stands for Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering and Educating people for a movement that votes. This roll out, which began 100 days before election day, is an expansive effort of base building, voter registration and protection, town halls and forums and nationally coordinated days of action. Their goal is to reach out to the 140 million poor and low-income people across America and change the political calculus in this country to form a new electorate.
Visit poorpeoplescampaign.org/voting to learn more and to find out how you can get involved, as well as download the digital toolkit. You can also donate to support their important work. Also, be sure to tune in to the Poor People’s Campaign Facebook account on September 14th at 7pm Eastern for the Moral Monday Mass Assembly to learn more about the “We Must Do MORE” effort.
It is important to note that someone who is unhoused can still register and vote in all 50 states. Unhoused registrants can list a shelter as an address or they can denote a street corner or a park as their residence. The non-partisan organization Nonprofit VOTE provides resources to help nonprofits like food pantries, community health centers, and housing organizations with the information and tools they need to help those they serve register and learn their voting rights. Check out the National Coalition for the Homeless resource: “You Don’t Need a Home to Vote” Manual.
There was already a disparity between voter participation amongst high-income people and low-income people and the pandemic is just making things worse. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 74% of people making over $100,000 voted in 2016, compared with only 38% of people making less than $20,000. And 18% more people who own their home voted compared with those who rent.
In an interview with Fast Company in July, Joey Lindstrom, director of field organizing with National Low Income Housing Coalition put it perfectly: "I think voting is really important to renters. I think voting is really important to low-income people. But when the primary issue of your day is how are you going to feed your kids or how are you going to find a place to sleep at night, the policy concerns of a federal election fade to the background, for very understandable reasons.”
If you or someone you know is facing eviction, the National Housing Law Project has compiled a comprehensive list of resources specifically related to the current crisis. Additionally, if you can learn more about the recent four-month CDC eviction moratorium and fight for a real solution via the National Low Income Housing Coalition campaign and toolkit.
So, if making sure the most vulnerable can have their voices heard is important to you, be sure to spread the word about Helping Unhoused, Poor and Low-Income Voters Access the Ballot via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Nonprofit VOTES: Voting information pertaining to unhoused people
Get involved in the "You Don't Need a Home to Vote" Project
National Housing Law Project Resources for People Facing Eviction During the Pandemic
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
Evictions Across US Raise Concerns About Voting Process (Voice of America)
How The Eviction Crisis Could Compound Voter Suppression Come November (Huffington Post)
Posted September 11, 2020; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1366: The Great Unhousing of America