No House, No Vote
Elite Voting Laws and Houseless Peoples’ Franchise in Canada
Canadian election laws oscillate between elite and participatory approaches, where the former precludes, and the latter facilitates, equity-deserving groups from exercising their democratic right to vote. The term ‘houseless’ replaces the pejorative ‘homeless’, removing the inherent familial and kinship components of home possession to focus on lacking shelter as the missing element of one’s life. In this paper, I marshal extant scholarship in elections policy, voter identification law, and political history to argue that elite voter identification laws systematically exclude houseless voters from Canadian political venues. I articulate and defend a participatory approach in designing future election legislation, extinguishing heuristics surrounding houseless Canadians and supporting their political involvement. This article provides directions for optimal voter identification laws, reflecting a participatory approach to protect the democratic rights of every Canadian—not just those with a permanent roof over their heads.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Kael Kropp
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