“Backlash over North Dakota voter ID law could rally Native Americans”


Leaders of the state’s tribes are pouring resources into making sure residents obtain addresses in some way and offering free updated tribal identification that would meet the requirements, available up through Election Day. Nonprofits are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and promising the cash will go towards helping Native American voters in the state.

Tribal leaders say the requirements are an attempt to disenfranchise Native Americans, the state’s largest minority group.

“We believe the requirement of a physical, residential property with a street address was intended to disenfranchise Native American voters,” four of the tribes said in a joint press release issued Oct. 17. “We will not be silenced by the blatant efforts to rob our people of our voice.”

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican, said the voter identification requirements aren’t meant to disenfranchise anyone, only to ensure the integrity of elections. He argues that most states require voters to have a residential address at some point.

“I don’t know why North Dakota is being singled out in being somewhat unusual,” he said.

Last weekend, Mark Ruffalo, the Dave Matthews Band and Billy Ray Cyrusjoined Native American performers for a star-studded series of events on North Dakota reservations meant to promote voting.

But is it enough to prompt Native Americans here to stand and vote?


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