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Local nonprofit works to register voters experiencing homelessness

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 01, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Common Ground, a local nonprofit, has started a registration drive for people experiencing homelessness in the Milwaukee area.

People within the demographic deal with a number of challenges daily and the pandemic has only made life harder.

“We’re all the same,” said Fred Stoltz, a Common Ground volunteer. “We all experience that sense of power that we all possess when we exercise our right to vote.”

It’s a right afforded to every law-abiding citizen; the right to vote. It’s a power Stoltz is helping homeless voters utilize.

“In a matter of an hour and a half, we sat down with over a dozen people and registered them,” Stoltz said.

The nonprofit is hosting several registration drives to make sure every person dealing with homelessness has an opportunity to vote.

“Probably the biggest hurdle for a homeless person is first proving residency,” said Laura Vuchetich said.

However, for those living without a permanent place to stay, registration for those voters could be more difficult but it's not impossible.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said homeless voters can use their temporary shelter, or the organization helping them as a listed residence. That organization will have to send in a letter, like this one as proof of residence to the WEC before their registration is accepted.

Once registered, voters can vote both by mail or in person at the polls, which Common Ground said may be easier with Election Day so close.

“As a matter of fact, we’re advising people that they should vote in person. It’s simpler, there's fewer errors that can occur with absentee ballots,” Vuchetich said.

Stoltz said after registering more than a dozen voters two weeks ago, he's hoping more people who are down on their luck, take pride and dignity in voting for what they hope will be a better tomorrow.

Common Ground is holding two more registration drives for people dealing with homeless on Friday and Monday at Guest House of Milwaukee locations.

Click here to read the guidelines on voting for homeless voters.

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