Houseless Voter’s Guide

Barriers and Ways Around Them

“Homeless does not mean voteless,” goes the slogan for nonprofit organization Vote.

In October of last year, security.org released statistics stating that Oregon ranks 4th in the nation in terms of houselessness. It’s an issue that crops up a lot, in both conversations of city and state, occupying everything from legislative talks to Facebook group posts.

Yet the voices that seem to be heard the least are those of the unhoused themselves – especially when it comes to issues of policy. If you or an individual you know would like to vote but are having issues registering due to houselessness, here are a few pointers:

While a lot has been done to streamline the voting process, there are still some barriers to work around – namely, figuring out what to jot down for residence and mailing address.

According to sos.oregon.gov, residence is considered “any definable location in the country that describes [the individual’s] current physical location. This could be a shelter, park, motor home, or other identifiable location.”

Since nothing gets sent to this location, any place with an address which the voter frequents should work. Shelters and churches are recommended as good places to write down, with permission.

Mailing address is somewhat more complicated. The Benton County Election Office will be your best friend here. At least a few days before the election, individuals can come to the office and request to have their ballots mailed there. Alternatively, individuals can pick up their ballots over the counter at the office.

The final date for voter registration at our election office is April 28, and they’re more than happy to help folks register any time beforehand.

The Benton County Election Office is at 120 NW 4th St #13, Corvallis, OR 97330.

By Thomas Nguyen