Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small Intro Native American Voting Rights Act
Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) recently signed a bill expanding voting services on tribal reservations. New Mexico Democratic Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small want to replicate that success for Native communities at the federal level. The trio reintroduced the Native American Voting Rights Act last week -- landmark legislation that would provide the necessary resources and oversight to ensure Native Americans and Alaska Natives have equal access to the electoral process. “Unfortunately, we’ve continued to see barriers erected to stop Americans from exercising their right to vote. And too often, those barriers target Native American voters and other Americans of color, including recent measures that forced strict and burdensome voter ID laws on tribal communities in North Dakota. By removing barriers for Native Americans to register and vote, we strengthen our democracy,” said Luján. Their legislation would enact key measures, such as increasing Native access to voter registration sites and polling locations, and authorizing tribal ID cards for voting purposes. The bill would also bolster Native voter registration, education, and election participation efforts in tribal communities by authorizing a first of its kind Native American Voting Rights Task Force. The measure also addresses the devastating effects of Shelby County v. Holder by prohibiting states from undertaking discriminatory actions without DOJ agreement and government-to-government consultation. Haaland decried the laws that were on the books in 2018 that automatically omitted Native American voters from exercising their right to vote by putting restrictions in place to disproportionately disqualify them. “This goes against America’s fundamental principles,” Haaland said. Torres Small added: “Our democracy and our district flourish when more people participate in elections.” NM Dem Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced companion legislation the upper chamber. More here.