Advocates Register Homeless To Vote; Homeless Might Have Stake in Some Health-Related Ballot Initiatives
Advocates in Los Angeles have targeted a voter registration drive at the city's estimated 6,000 to 8,000 homeless residents who might have an interest in two of the health-related initiatives on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot, the Los Angeles Times reports. Local advocates said they hope to register 5,000 new voters by the Oct. 18 registration deadline and coordinate voter education and mobilization drives before the election.
Deborah Burton, an organizer with Los Angeles Community Action Network, said Propositions 63 and 72 are of particular interest to homeless and low-income individuals (Rivera, Los Angeles Times, 10/11).
Proposition 63 would increase by 1% the state personal income tax on individuals whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to finance an expansion of mental health services. The measure would raise an estimated $700 million annually to care for people with severe mental illnesses.
Proposition 72 would allow state residents to vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2, a state law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage (California Healthline, 9/27).
Census data from 2000 show that about 53% of people whose annual incomes are less than $5,000 were registered to vote and that 34% of those individuals voted. For those who earn more than $50,000 annually, 78% were registered to vote and 69% voted.
A nationwide effort, including 100 events in 35 states, aims to register 25,000 homeless individuals to vote. Local volunteers also are targeting people in welfare offices, people with disabilities at transient hotels and inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail. In Los Angeles County, people can name an intersection or shelter as their residence on voter registration forms (Los Angeles Times, 10/11).
Additional information about Propositions 63 and 72 is available online.