Abandoned in America
October 16, 2018 10:01 AM   Subscribe

What stands in the way of Native American voters?

On a hot Tuesday night in July, about a dozen people filtered into the A.J. Agard Building, in the Long Soldier district on the reservation, to play bingo — a fundraiser for this year’s celebration powwow.

They did not want to talk about politics. Or voting. At least not with their names attached.

“When people are running for Senate and coming here, people feel they don’t keep their promises,” said one woman softly, from behind the counter where she was selling popcorn and drinks. “People don’t go to vote because they don’t trust the government.”

posted by poffin boffin (6 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I recently donated to Four Directions, mentioned in the article. They appear to have a specific solution to the registration problem in ND (for this election anyway) but it's clearly going to cost some money.
posted by praemunire at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the post, poffin boffin. In the mega thread I linked to a different but related article from Mother Jones, which I will include here. 4,000 Square Miles. One Post Office. Why It’s So Hard to Vote in Arizona’s Indian Country.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

The Rachel Maddow Show had a good summary and an interview with OJ Semans, an executive director of Four Directions, last night. Those clips are probably geo-locked unfortunately but I think a full show transcript will show up here.

A detail mentioned in the show was that the state has claimed that individual voters who don't have street addresses (as many reservation residents do not) can figure out who their regional director for the state 911 system is, send them a written request to be assigned a street address, and when they get the response apply for a new tribal ID with the address on it. But of course, at no point during the lawsuit has the state simply proactively issued these addresses to the voters, nor given the tribal authorities—who issue the IDs—the addresses. They're insisting that each individual voter should find out this information on their own and go through these steps separately.
posted by XMLicious at 12:25 PM on October 16, 2018 [9 favorites]

XMLicious, I did not realise that. Of course something the state government can do relatively easily should be made an enormous burden for individuals in hopes they just give up. FFS. Every. Single. Thing. Is. Fucked. For. PoC.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:37 PM on October 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

Want people to have to show ID to vote? Give them IDs. These politicians should put their money where their mouth is. IDs should be free to all, upon request, and state registrar personnel should go to the residence of anyone requesting an ID at a time of the requester's convenience, seven days a week.

But we know it's not about valid IDs, and it never was.
posted by tclark at 5:48 PM on October 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Wednesday's The Rachel Maddow Show said (I think this is the clip, transcript would show up here) that Four Directions and tribal authorities have formulated a plan to have an official present at every single polling place on the reservations who can immediately issue a “Tribal Voting Letter” providing a voter's address, determined on the spot, if they're denied the right to vote. The show's producers repeatedly called the ND Secretary of State but the most response they got was from a Deputy SoS saying that this would “probably” be adequate for the state's voter ID law.
posted by XMLicious at 12:44 PM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

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