PHILADELPHIA - John Swanson knows his politics that much is clear from five minutes talking with the man.
But he’s homeless, and the uncertainty he lives with means he doesn’t know for sure whether he’ll be voting on November 8th.
“I don’t know where I’ll be,” says Swanson, leaving a known homeless encampment just north of Lehigh Street. “I might be in rehab in November, I have no idea.”
Personal circumstances notwithstanding, it isn’t hard for homeless people to vote in Pennsylvania. No permanent address? You can use the address of a shelter program you’re affiliated with. Are you a felon who’s been released? You can still vote. “If you’re homeless, you have the right to vote, and nobody can take that away,” says Janine Muller of Project Home’s Vote for Homes Coalition. She and others were at the Veteran’s Multi-Service Center on North 4th Street helping veterans, many of whom are homeless, get registered.
Lindsay Harkless, a veteran who’s staying with friends, was ironing his jeans on a Center ironing board. He was sure to get registered, because he says voting is the strongest move a veteran can make to get what he needs. “I know a couple of veterans who’ve died waiting for services… have literally died. I’ve been to at least five funerals over the last year.”
Homeless or not, you can still get registered in Pennsylvania through midnight on Tuesday, October 11th. Project Home’s Vote for Homes Coalition can be reached at (215) 232-7272 x 3042.