RALEIGH, N.C. – Voting officials on Friday said you don't have to have a permanent address to register to vote.
North Carolina's voter registration form includes a street diagram where applicants can indicate where they sleep. They are still encouraged to provide a mailing address when possible.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, no state requires voters to have a traditional residence in order to vote. Federal law prohibits denying anyone the right to vote for reasons other than a felony conviction or mental incompetence.
Michael Watkins was homeless in Raleigh for 20 years. During that time, he used the addresses of some of his favorite shelters when he registered to vote. He said there always were either on-site voting options or transportation to the polls.
“They need to know that their voice is being heard, and they need to know that their voice does count,” he said. “And I can tell you from practical experience, your voice does count.”
Early voting continues through October 31.
Voters can register and cast their ballots at the same time during the early voting period, unlike on Election Day itself. Registering to vote doesn't cost anything, as poll taxes were abolished by the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
If you are a former felon, you are eligible to vote as long as you have completed all of the portions of your sentence.