In downtown SP, homeless people also vote or want to vote: ‘fair life’ – 10/02/2022

Maria José Conceição woke up early on Sunday (2). Vain, she applied a green lipstick to her lips. Living on the streets for 12 years, on an overpass near the Teatro Oficina, in downtown São Paulo, she went to vote at an electoral college nearby.

He chose Lula because “he is from the northeast and was born in my mother’s city”, he says, referring to Caetés (PE). Maria, who declined to give her age, says she works in a bar next to the theater in bixiga, but the salary does not cover rent and transportation. He doesn’t have a fixed address, but he has a regularized voter’s title and went to the polls.

Not far from there, the baker from Ceará, Beyoncé Matos, 27, delicately folded her sheets a few meters from the Sé, a busy square on election day. The sheets, in fact, were rags that she zealously arranged on the makeshift floor on the street, where she has lived since 2019.

From Fortaleza, Beyoncé is a trans woman, worked in bakeries in São Paulo, lost her job, tried to turn herself around as a prostitute and, in the pandemic, ended up on the street. As she arranged her things in the historic center bustling with electoral colleges, she regretted not being able to vote this time: she says that she was unable to change her social name and transfer her voter registration card in time.

Like Beyoncé, many homeless people stopped voting. The last time Beyoncé voted she chose Dilma Rousseff (PT), in 2014. If she could, this time she would vote for former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). “[Jair Bolsonaro (PL)] can’t,” she said hurriedly, heading to a hostel where she could shower.

Often made invisible, homeless people are “forgotten” by candidates in hand-to-hand combat — and assistance programs for them is a subject ignored in the discussions of the proposals.

collective effort

Beyoncé Matos was unable to change her social name and transfer her voter registration in time

Image: Camila Svenson/UOL

About 32,000 people live on the streets of São Paulo, according to data from the end of 2021 — among them, 45.7% were eligible to vote in these elections. In the first semester, the TRE-SP (Regional Electoral Court of São Paulo) carried out a joint effort to regularize the titles of the homeless population, in addition to actions to include indigenous people and quilombolas.

“It’s touching to leave the office and go to the field to see the reality of people, we learned a lot as citizens. That’s when we understood that it wouldn’t even be worth creating a digital campaign aimed at this audience. It’s ineffective, they wouldn’t even see it”, says the planning secretary Regina Rufino, from TRE-SP. “We have to go to them, sit on the floor, get paper and pen to fill in [os dados]. It impacts too much.”

The action resulted in 119 revisions, 98 electoral zone transfers, 15 duplicate issues and regularization of 10 voter registrations suspended due to criminal conviction and conscription. According to Rufino, the numbers could be higher, but the vulnerability of the homeless population makes it difficult to access basic documents even to obtain the voter registration card.

Close to the TRE-SP headquarters is the tent of Wallas Souza, 32, from Bahia. Curled up to protect himself from the Sunday sun, at first he didn’t want to talk about politics. “If it’s about Bolsonaro, you can leave now,” he said. “Who is he to call another candidate a thief?” he asked.

2.Oct.2022 | Movement in downtown São Paulo on election day

Image: Camila Svenson/UOL

‘A fair life’

In Brazil for seven years, the Venezuelan machinist José Gregorio, 51, lives near Largo São Francisco, where the Letter for Democracy, a landmark of the 2022 elections, was read. find a small makeshift town with tents—none of the homeless people he TAB talked there voted.

With tears in his eyes, Gregorio says he has already faced gigantic lines to get basic groceries in Venezuela. He migrated to Brazil in search of a better life for his four children.

To date, the family has not been able to regularize their situation in the country and remains with provisional documentation. Couldn’t vote, but would like to.

Gregorio says he does not consider himself a communist. “I’m just a human being who wants to have a righteous life.”

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: downtown homeless people vote vote fair life

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