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HARP and City Council working together to ensure people experiencing homelessness can vote this year

HARP is pleased to be working with Southend-on-Sea City Council to help ensure that people who are experiencing homelessness are registered to vote.

Members of the council’s electoral registration team are running drop-in sessions at HARP services including the Bradbury Centre in the coming weeks before the local and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) elections on Thursday 2 May. The team will help those who do not have a fixed or permanent address fill in a form to register at the place where they spend most of their time, or to which they have a local connection.


Since voter identity was introduced at the last local elections it has made it more challenging for people who are rough sleeping to vote as many do not have access to photo ID. Council staff will be able to issue Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) so that if electors do not have an accepted form of photo ID, they can use a VAC to vote in person at local polling stations, 


Vanessa Hemmings, Chief Executive at HARP says: “Housing is such a big issue for the people we work with so ensuring they have the chance to engage with local democracy and get their views heard is really important to HARP. We’re pleased to be working with the council to raise awareness amongst the people we support and get them registered to vote should they wish to.”


Colin Ansell, Chief Executive of Southend-on-Sea City Council, says: "We want to make sure that registering to vote in our city is accessible to everyone who is eligible. I am delighted that our electoral services team are working with HARP and other organisations in the city to understand and address the barriers that can deter residents from taking part in elections. “This could be a variety of issues including the requirement to bring an acceptable form of photo ID to vote in a polling station or having no fixed or permanent address. The team are looking forward to welcoming everyone that comes to the drop-in sessions."


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