The 2020 Homeless vote
Bottom Line: In 1984 (Pitts vs. Black), the United States Supreme Court ruled that eligible citizens who lacked a permanent address had the lawful right to vote. From that point forward there have been efforts to engage and inform homeless individuals regarding their right to vote. For all of the election analysis which takes place each cycle it’s not something that really ever becomes part of the mainstream conversation, however awareness is growing and how homeless voters vote, very much has the potential to impact elections.
There are an estimated 553,000 homeless Americans nationwide, 28,000 of which reside in Florida. According to a study by the National Coalition for the Homeless, 10% of the homeless population votes. That equals more than 50,000 votes nationally and more than 2,800 in Florida (or more than five times the margin of victory in the Presidential election in Florida in 2000). While the key election issue involving homelessness is usually how to raise people out of it and/or prevent it from occurring – the actual homeless vote is one which matters every bit as much as anyone else’s and shouldn’t be discounted in close elections.