“Native Americans Again Seek to Protect their Right to Vote”

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On December 13, 2017, the Native American Rights Fund again brought action against the state of North Dakota seeking to overturn North Dakota’s newest discriminatory voter ID law. NARF filed an amended complaint on behalf of Native American Plaintiffs impacted by the discriminatory law. Last year, NARF fought on behalf of Native American Plaintiffs to enjoin enforcement of North Dakota’s voter ID law, which disproportionately prevented Native Americans from exercising their right to vote.  In that action, Judge Daniel L. Hovland of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota found “[i]t is undisputed that the more severe conditions in which Native Americans live translates to disproportionate burdens when it comes to complying with the new voter ID laws.” Judge Hovland, therefore, held the law likely violated the U.S. Constitution because it disproportionately kept Native Americans from voting and required the state to provide a fail-safe mechanism for those without IDs in the 2016 general election. Judge Hovland wrote, “it is clear that a safety net is needed for those voters who simply cannot obtain a qualifying voter ID with reasonable effort.”Video looks at NARF’s 2016 ND voting case.

In light of this defeat, the legislature amended their law earlier this year, but the new law failed to include meaningful protections for voters’ rights.

See also this flyer about a January hearing in Phoenix by the Native American Voting Rights Coaltion.

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