Homeless Discuss Difficulty of Getting a Voter ID Card

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG, Va -- Even if you do not have a roof over your head, you can still cast a vote in the presidential election this November. Homeless people around the community can still register and get the new voter ID cards. For some, it may be the only ID they will have.

Frankie Good is a homeless man in the area, and he said why he wants to vote this year.

"I'd like to vote because I'd like to see the economy get back on its feet," said Good.

Good lives at the Mercy House in Harrisonburg because he is homeless. He has never voted, but he has always had an ID if he wanted one. Some homeless people, like James McNeil Wilson Jr., are not as lucky.

"You have to fill out the applications. I can't see. I don't understand half of it anyways," said McNeil.

Getting an ID can be difficult without the proper documentation.

"I don't know how many homeless people have those types of cards, so it may be easier to use a voter ID card," said Doug Geib, the Rockingham County Registrar.

McNeil has dealt with the problem of getting an ID card.

"They tell me you gotta have two forms of ID to get an ID," said McNeil.

To vote, you need a mailing address to get the voter ID card. Kate Fowlkes enters people in to the Mercy House and to do that, they have to have a valid ID.

"We do everything we can to get them out to the DMV to get at least the photo ID if they're not eligible for a drivers license," said Fowlkes.

Whether it is an address or a proper ID, registering can be challenging as a homeless person, but it is possible.

"I'm homeless and I have 4 children and a wife. I'm going through surgeries right now. It's tough. I just wish everything would get back on track," said Good.

If you look on the voter registration form, you can see it says, “If you are homeless, describe where you reside.” In order to get the ID card to be able to vote, you have to fill in the line below with a mailing address where you can pick up the card.

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