These people already live on the margins of society, so we wanted to give them a chance to express themselves; if they don’t have a voice, people won’t worry about their fate. We started discussing this project with the electoral commission of Delhi in 2004, and a handful of homeless people were able to vote in legislative elections in 2009.
For this year’s elections, we registered 12,000 homeless people. The commission gave us registration forms, and as many homeless are illiterate, we helped them fill out the documents. We then had to visit them several times to check that they were staying at the address they had given us so that they would receive their voter card. In general, the homeless only gave the name of a street or a bridge, and the electoral commission agents went to find them to give them their voter cards in person.
The voter card is very important because in India, not only does it allow you to vote, it can also be used as a piece of identification. It gives the homeless access to basic services that they haven’t been able to receive until now, such as opening a bank account, for example.