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In addition to mobilizing low-income renters and engaging candidates for public office, the Our Homes, Our Votes campaign advocates for federal legislation and administrative action that would safeguard voting rights and reduce barriers to voting for low-income renters. See below for more information about key legislation and opportunities to take action.

Our Homes, Our Votes Act

The Our Homes, Our Votes Act (H.R. 2215 in the 117th Congress), introduced by Representatives Garcia (D-IL) and Scanlon (D-PA), would allow residents of federally subsidized housing to register to vote as they sign their lease by adding federally subsidized housing to the National Voter Registration Act (better known as the Motor Voter Law). The bill makes it clear that all public housing agencies and other housing providers who use federal housing subsidies are expected to conduct voter registration activities at lease up, reducing voting barriers for some renters. 

Unhoused VOTE Act

The Unhoused Voter Opportunity Through Elections Act (S. 2971/HR. 5294), or Unhoused VOTE Act, was introduced by Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA-05) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Unhoused VOTE Act affirms that no person may be denied the right to vote because they do not have a traditional home. The bill contains a number of provisions to expand voting rights for people experiencing homelessness, which would require that: 

  • Election officials in jurisdictions with ballot drop boxes consult with service providers to consider accessibility to unhoused people when determining the location, number, and operating hours of drop boxes.

  • Election officials to accept individuals’ written attestation of their residence, signed under penalty of perjury.

  • States allow an individual residing in a homeless shelter to use the shelter as their residence for the purpose of voting in federal elections.

  • Election officials send a notification of the voter registration deadline to each homeless shelter in the state, as well as local social services agencies that commonly serve unhoused individuals. 

  • Emergency shelters are treated as voter registration agencies under the "National Voter Registration Act," which distribute voter registration forms, offer assistance with voter registration applications, and accept completed forms for transmittal to state election officials. 

  • The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) develop best practices for election officials to facilitate unhoused citizens’ voter registration and participation.

Voters on the Move Registration Act

The Voters on the Move Registration Act of 2023 (H.R. 5290) requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the EAC to develop a uniform statement with information on voter registration and voting rights, which will be made available to residents of public and federally assisted housing. Public housing agencies (PHAs) and owners of federally assisted properties must provide a copy of the uniform statement when residents sign their leases or fill out income verification forms, and owners of properties with federally backed multifamily mortgage loans must provide a copy to renters at the time that their lease is signed. PHAs must provide a copy of the statement to Housing Choice Voucher holders when their voucher is issued and when they are given an income verification form.

Letter to HUD

NLIHC, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Housing Law Project (NHLP), and Demos sent a letter on December 14, 2021 that urged HUD, the Treasury Department, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect and expand voting access for tenants in federally assisted properties. The letter details several recommendations for the departments to use their authority to support voter registration and participation among low-income tenants. Read the full letter here.

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