Published on Oct 22, 2012
Voter ID laws being considered or already in place in six states could have a negative impact on Native voter participation in the 2012 election and in years to come. New analysis released today by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), warns that Native voters in Alaska, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, present significant barriers to Native Voter participation. Download the report here.
NCAI, the nation’s leading Native American advocacy organization, also announced it is supporting increased voter protection efforts in Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, in response to historic and current voter suppression efforts.
“We will not be deterred – Indian Country is focused on turning out the largest Native vote in history this year – and this report helps us focus our protection and education efforts. Voter ID laws and photo ID laws are a major concern and we are working to make sure Native voters have the information they need to make their voice heard,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel from the organization’s 69th Annual Convention being held in Sacramento, California.
The report, titled Voter IDs and the Native Vote, identifies three areas where voter ID requirements pose significant challenges for Native voters and can be characterized as having a disproportionate effect on the American Indian and Alaska Native vote: First, states with voter ID laws compromise the rights of Native voters by not accepting tribal IDs as valid forms of identification; second, such laws create barriers of cost, logistics, and distance to obtaining required IDs; and finally, these laws risk disenfranchising large numbers of Native voters through provisional ballots.
The report also states that of the 18 states that Native Vote has identified as focus states for protecting Native voter rights and increasing voter engagement, 11 have passed new voter ID laws that could disproportionately affect Native voters. A map and chart included in the report highlights the six states of greatest concern.
The report also outlines steps that can be taken by tribal nations, states, and election officials, to increase education and protection efforts for Native voters.
In January, Keel and NCAI called for the largest Native vote in history.
To learn more about Native Vote visit www.nativevote.org
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