An Exploration of Homelessness and Electoral Participation

Veronica Coram, Jonathon Louth, Lisa Hill, Selina Tually, Ian Goodwin-Smith

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

People experiencing homelessness are a highly marginalised group and often experience a range of additional social disadvantages, including civic exclusion. Their need for democratic inclusion and effective representation is high yet there has been little research into their relationship with voting either in Australia or internationally. This report is based on a mixed-methods study undertaken at the time of Australia’s 2019 Federal Election, investigating how people experiencing homelessness perceive voting and the obstacles they face to electoral engagement. The study is one of the largest-scale investigations of electoral participation by people experiencing homelessness undertaken anywhere in the world. The research produced new evidence on enrolment and turnout rates by people experiencing homelessness in Australia, and on the practical and symbolic significance of voting for this group. A key finding was that study participants had levels of political interest equal to or greater than the general population, but faced barriers and disincentives to voting that were closely tied to their lived experience of disadvantage and marginalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAdelaide, South Australia
PublisherUniversity of South Australia
Commissioning bodyAustralian Electoral Commission
Number of pages81
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • homelessness
  • voting
  • elections
  • Political participation
  • Political influence

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