Ben Ray Luján Aims to Protect Indian Country’s Right to Vote
Regular Beat readers are familiar with recent events in North Dakota that underscore the urgency and necessity of federal legislation to secure the voting rights of Native American voters. To help protect the community’s rights at the polls, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) on Wednesday introduced the Native American Voting Rights Act -- landmark legislation to provide the resources and oversight necessary to protect Native Americans’ access to the ballot box. The bill incorporates principles of self-determination into the electoral process, meaning that tribes and their members will be the decision-makers when it comes to ensuring their communities and members have equal access to their constitutional right to vote. The legislation would establish a Native American Voting Rights Task Force, increase Native access to voter registration sites and polling locations, and ensure equal treatment for tribal ID cards for voting purposes. “Voting today anywhere in America should be easier, not harder,” said Luján. “Yet, Native Americans continue to face obstacles to exercising their fundamental right to participate in our democratic processes. This legislation will help create equal access to the ballot box for Native voters, ultimately strengthening our democracy and the voice of Native America.” Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) have introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber. More here.