Today’s Must-Read: “Native Americans’ right to vote is under attack”

Kira Lerner for Think Progress:

But with more voters casting ballots from their homes, Arizona is offering fewer opportunities for people to cast ballots in person. That’s a problem for Native Americans, who say they enjoy the communal aspects of voting on Election Day and sometimes need their ballots translated in-person into non-written Native languages. It also makes voting nearly impossible for people like Marks’ mother, who can’t receive mail to their homes and instead share PO boxes miles away —  sometimes in a different county or even state — and who check their mail infrequently.

“We have an aging community,” Marks said. “A lot of our elders, they feel passionate about voting, [but] they’re not always in the condition or position or have the ability to bring themselves in to a polling place to drop off their ballot or even to the post office to mail it at the appropriate time.”

The mail-in ballot is just one of many ways that voting, a constitutional right, is harder if you’re Native American. While voting has never been easy for people living on reservations, in many ways it’s become even more difficult in recent years, as states and the federal government turn their back to the problems.

Some states aren’t just ignoring the barriers to the ballot — they’re actively making them worse. In 2016, Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a lawbanning “ballot harvesting,” a term conservatives coined to refer to the act of mailing a ballot that’s not your own.


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