This Bristol cafe lets homeless people use its address to register to vote in snap UK election

The homeless are able to use Arnolfini's address to register to vote
The homeless are able to use Arnolfini's address to register to vote Copyright Domhnaill Barnes/Arnolfini
By Rachael Kennedy
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A cafe/bar in southwest England is helping the homeless to vote in the upcoming election by allowing them to use their address to register.


A cafe in the UK is letting the homeless use its address to register to vote in the upcoming snap election in a bid to make the ballot more accessible to everyone.

The Arnolfini cafe bar, situated in Bristol, southwest England, has also printed out the necessary registration forms to participate on December 12 and says those without a permanent address can come in and use theirs.

"We're up to a dozen or so people since earlier today," cafe boss Domhnaill Barnes told Euronews of how many uptakes he has had on the offer.

Speaking about the registration process, he added: "It's quite long-winded for people without a fixed address... with this extra hurdle, and if you don't have a permanent address, you probably don't have access to a printer either."

Barnes said he was inspired to carry out the idea after a conversation with his mother, who suggested that he could legally allow people to use his address.

According to the UK's Electoral Commission, a person can register to vote using an address "where you spend a substantial part of your time during the day or night".

"This could be a shelter or any place where you sleep or spend a large part of your day," the advisory note added.

For Barnes, the initiative is about making sure a person's right to vote is accessible for all, especially for those who don't have a fixed home.

He said: "Allowing these people to engage in the democratic process is a hugely important thing to do.

"Often, they are the people at the margins of society, and we want to help them feel included."

The reaction, he says, has been "overwhelmingly positive" and one of gratitude from those who have taken up the opportunity.

It has also prompted other cafes and bars around the country to contact him to find out how they can also get involved.

"It shocked us, and amazed us, and surprised us," Barnes said, adding: "The response we've had demonstrates the impact we can have."

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