Tribal members living in North Dakota to be provided voter ID free of charge
NORTH DAKOTA - October 25, 2018
On October 25, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) announced that, with the generous support of concerned donors, it is distributing $12,500 each to the Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Three Affiliated Tribes (“MHA”) to support efforts to protect voting rights for North Dakota tribal citizens.
“The funds, which were raised in response to North Dakota enacting a discriminatory voter ID law, will help ensure that tribal members living in North Dakota who come to the polls on Election Day will be provided voter identification free of charge,” the statement said.
Under the Federal District Court Order, tribes are now able to issue tribal documents that contain the voter’s name, birth date, and current residential street address in North Dakota.
They’ll also issue temporary documents showing proof of address, using an addressing system organized by the South Dakota-based advocacy group Four Directions. Now, instead of a P.O. box, the voter IDs list a residential address.
Together with tribal advocates, the Native American Rights Fund, Four Directions, Western Native Voice, and Native Voteintend to ensure Native American voters that lack residential street addresses can obtain them so they may exercise their right to vote.
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.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger denies any intent to disenfranchise Native American voters. He explained that the law merely ends certain voting practices — like letting voters sign affidavits as proof of residence — that might lead to untraceable ballots. Supporters claim the law is a necessary protection against voter fraud, though there’s no evidence of widespread fraud in the state.
In the coming weeks, groups at Standing Rock will print more IDs, knock on doors and organize phone banks.
On October 9, the Supreme Court denied an urgent request asking the justices to toss out a new North Dakota voter ID law, USA Really wrote.
North Dakota is a small state and your vote counts. If you’re a Native voter who lives in ND, please contact your tribal office. If you’re a Standing Rock tribal member and you need a tribal ID or additional info, please call 701-854-VOTE (8683).