By Anna Dutton
With the upcoming General Election on December 12, it’s been reported that 3.2 million people have registered to vote this year. However, many people believe that in order to register to vote, you need a permanent address. For most people this is not a problem, but for members of the homeless community, not having a permanent address means many do not register to vote. However, 10 Feet Tall, a cocktail bar in Cardiff city centre, has come up with a solution.
In order to be eligible to cast a vote in the General Election, you must have registered online, and after the Bristol Beer Factory offered the homeless community to register using their address, 10 Feet Tall’s marketing manager, Caitlin Whelan, said homeless individuals were welcome to drop into the bar for a hot drink and to fill in the required forms using their address, too.
Rather than needing a permanent address in order to register to vote, individuals are actually allowed to use a part-time address near to where they spend a lot of their time. For those who are homeless in the city, the centrality of the cocktail bar has been very useful in allowing them to register.
Speaking to Wales Today, Whelan said: “We are a city venue and we feel it is really important this time around, as it is any time, to give people the opportunity to have their say.”
She said that “homeless shelters have spread the word” in order to try and get more people interested and aware of the service on offer, and in Swansea, the business Cinema & Co. also announced they would be offering a similar service.
This story highlights the extent of the efforts made this year to ensure as many individuals registered to vote as possible, including ensuring the homeless community have the opportunity to have their say in the General Election taking place next week.
The service provided by 10 Feet Tall in Cardiff, Bristol Beer Factory in Bristol and Cinema & Co in Swansea has also been offered in establishments up and down the country, and the Big Issue also ran their own campaign before the registration deadline to spread awareness of how you don’t need a permanent address to register, nor do you need access to your own computer or the internet.
The deadline for registering to vote was November 26, and according to BBC News, since MPs agreed to hold the General Election at the end of October, over three million have already registered to vote and, according to the Electoral Reform Society, a million more people have registered compared to the pre-deadline period for the last general election in 2017.
With this increasing number of individuals registering to vote, it shows people’s increasing interest and desire to have their say.
As the deadline has now passed to register to vote, people will be preparing to go to the polls in December and have their say in what it is set to be an interesting election night.