Sarah Devlin


"The right to vote, as the citizen's link to his laws as government, is protective of all fundamental rights as privileges." This right is often unexercised or taken for granted; but for hundreds of thousands of homeless citizens, voting is a right which is beyond reach. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that on any given night in 2005, more than 754,000 Americans were without a traditional residence--living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or on the streets. While many of those people are only temporarily homeless, many others are being disenfranchised by an electoral system that requires a traditional residence or a particular form of identification, unavailable to the homeless population. Legislatures and courts alike have wavered between giving homeless Americans the right to vote and taking that right away. It is time to adopt a unified rule, which can only be fairly achieved through negotiated rulemaking, a bringing-together of representatives from various interest groups in order to reach consensus on the text of a proposed rule.



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