48. Stand Up For The Civil Rights Of The Homeless
We don't often realize that the homeless citizens of America have the same
civil rights as the rest of us.
In recent elections for example, volunteers at shelters and elsewhere helped
homeless people register to vote... even though they had "no fixed address" at
the moment. Some officials would not permit citizens without a permanent address
to vote. Again and again attorneys were required to go to court to defend the
right to vote.
Local Board of Elections officials in Orange County (NY) attempted to deny
homeless men the right to vote in the 1992 Presidential election, maintaining
that they were transients. The Coalition for the Homeless led a campaign to win
the vote for them. One day before the election, Judge Louis A Barone invited the
men to his courtroom, called them one-by-one and granted them their right to
vote. "It's good to see you all here." he observed. "You should all be
congratulated for going out of your way to vote."