Advocacy groups have been meeting with tribal leaders on all of North Dakota’s far-flung reservations, trying to figure out how to help voters get the addresses and identification they need through the process the state described. It’s a tall order.
One of the groups, Four Directions, came up with its own plan. In a letter to Secretary of State Al Jaeger, it suggested that tribal officials would be stationed at every voting location on the state’s reservations, ready to issue identification letters on tribal letterhead. They would use an established addressing system for rural areas to assign residential addresses on the spot.
Oliver and Barbara Semans, co-executive directors of Four Directions, wrote that they believed Mr. Jaeger had “no authority to prevent tribal governments from implementing this plan,” because “tribal governments have the inherent sovereignty to issue residential addresses to any tribal member who may lack such an address.” But they urged him to “publicly support” it.
Mr. Jaeger declined. “It is inappropriate for me to do so because it is a legal question that is beyond the authority of this office as to whether a sovereign tribe has those powers within their jurisdiction,” he wrote in a response that his office provided to The New York Times on Thursday.