A WELL-KNOWN SALFORD ACTIVIST is helping homeless people in the city to register to vote in the upcoming General Election by letting them use his office address as their own.
Former trade unionist and manager of the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, Alec McFadden, believes involving homeless people in the democratic process could persuade political parties to focus on the issue in June’s election.
He was prompted after seeing the number of homeless people after walking through Manchester after travelling to Piccadilly Train Station.
He said: “I rang Salford Council, and asked what are we going to do with these homeless people? We’ve got a General Election coming up. They replied: they can’t vote because they don’t have an address.”
After checking the legalities of registering people at his office with the electoral office in Westminster, it was confirmed that, while unusual, Alec’s suggestion was legal.
Salford City Council subsequently supported the scheme by printing our 500 voter registration forms, which have been filled in by the city’s homeless people with the aid of volunteers.
He said: “There are three facets to this: One, giving these people a voice. Two, involving them in the democratic process and as a result of that, the political parties, when they pick this up, which they will, they’ll then start targeting policies at homeless people.”
He said: “The big issue for homeless people, is that you cannot fight this battle online or on social media so most homeless people don’t have access. So, we’re going back 20 years and going door to door to bring out the vote.”
He has also has had support from the Big Issue, who featured the campaign in this week’s edition of the magazine and have also given their vendors details on how to register any homeless people who are interested
Alec says there has been some opposition online, with some people claiming that it is “outrageous” that those who do not pay tax or National Insurance are given the ability to register to vote.
Nevertheless, Alec maintains that involving these people in the democratic process all feeds into their wider rehabilitation.