70,000 North Dakota Residents and Native Americans At Risk Of Being Disenfranchised
NORTH DAKOTA – October 12, 2018
Voting policies continue to contribute to the disenfranchisement of Native Americans. Among the first rulings of the Supreme Court that has been back in session for just over a week is the refusal to intervene in a challenge to a North Dakota voter ID law.
North Dakota is home to thousands of Native Americans and others who do not have standard addresses, meanwhile the law requires that state residents provide identification that includes a residential street address in order to vote. This would effectively deprive Native Americans of the right to vote, civil rights advocates say.
To address the issue, an urgent request to the Supreme Court asking the justices to toss out the law was submitted on September 24, but this Tuesday, October 9, the Court denied it without explanation—with the exception of Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Kagan. Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh took no part in the consideration or decision of this application.
“70,000 North Dakota residents—almost 20% of the turnout in a regular quadrennial election—lack a qualifying ID; and approximately 18,000 North Dakota residents also lack supplemental documentation sufficient to permit them to vote without a qualifying ID,” Ginsburg said in her dissent.
Justice Ginsburg also highlighted that changing the rules ahead of November’s election could cause confusion amongst voters. “The risk of voter confusion appears severe here because the injunction against requiring residential-address identification was in force during the primary election and because the Secretary of State’s website announced for months the ID requirements as they existed under that injunction,” Ginsburg warned.
“Although the unchallenged portion of the injunction permitting the use of more informal supplemental documents somewhat lessens this concern, that relief, by itself, scarcely cures the problem given the all too real risk of grand-scale voter confusion”, Ginsburg said. “That inconvenience pales in comparison to the confusion caused by the Eighth Circuit’s order, which may lead to voters finding out at the polling place that they cannot vote because their formerly valid ID is now insufficient.”
For Native Americans, voting is another challenge for a people the government seems destined to fail.
Another shocking fact brought to light in August by USA Really is that four out of five Native American women in the United States are expected to encounter violence in their lifetimes; one in three are raped during their lifetime; and the murder rates of Native women exceed ten times the national average in some tribal and urban communities. U.S. authorities gather missing person statistics for every demographic except for Native American women.
The average U.S. citizen would be extremely astonished to discover that U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama constantly failed to grant freedom to Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist who has been incarcerated for nearly 44 years, despite overwhelming evidence of FBI misconduct—including the coercion and intimidation of witnesses, the utilization of false testimonies, and the concealment of a ballistics test reflecting his innocence.