Samantha Kelty is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Native American Rights Fund and Managing Attorney of its Washington, DC, office. Samantha litigates to eliminate obstacles to voting faced by Native Americans and promote Native voting rights, including securing ballot assistance, ballot receipt extension deadlines, on-reservation polling places, election day registration, compliance with the National Voting Rights Act, and redistricting.
At NARF, she has successfully litigated or settled six major victories for Native American voting rights, including securing a fair redistricting plan in Lyman County, South Dakota, compliance with the National Voter Registration Act in South Dakota, election day registration in Montana, ballot assistance in Montana and Nevada, ballot receipt extension deadlines in Nevada, and on-reservation polling places in Montana. She also represented amicus curiae National Congress of American Indians before the United States Supreme Court in advocating for the use of ballot collection and equal access by Native American voters under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
In addition to litigation, she is a member of the Native American Voting Rights Coalition, a nationwide alliance of advocates, lawyers, academics, and tribal representatives that addresses Native American voting issues nationwide. She also is focused on redistricting, in a major, first-of-its-kind project in Indian Country consisting of public education, attorney training, developing redistricting proposals, and litigation, all with the goal of removing barriers to voting in Indian communities.
Samantha started her career at DNA-People’s Legal Services representing low income clients in public interest matters, after which she was in private practice for over 15 years representing tribal schools and other tribal entities in employment, administrative litigation defense, and other general counsel services.
- South Texas College of Law, J.D.
- Dean’s Merit Scholarship
- University of New Mexico School of Law, visiting student, honor roll
- Louisiana State University, B.A. English
Admissions to Practice
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Arizona
- United States Tax Court
Broadcast Media Appearances
- Indigenous, Native American tribes are pushing for voting rights. (KSHB 41, Kansas City, 1/17/2022)
- In Indian Country, COVID-19 Yet Another Obstacle To Casting A Vote. (NPR, 11/2/2020)
- Indigenous Get Out The Vote Groups Make Final Push. (Yellowstone Public Radio, 11/2/2020)
- “2020 Census Data and Redistricting — What’s New? What’s Next?” (National Congress of American Indians, October 2021)
- “Leadership Learning Series: Moving Beyond Allyship to Advocacy: Responding to Voter Suppression.” Panel participant. (Institute for Nonprofit Practice, October 2021)
- “A Call to Action: Eliminating Voting Barriers for Historically Disenfranchised Groups.” (Mi Familia Vota, July 2021)
- Speaker on barriers for Native voters. (Fair Elections Center, June 2021)
- “The Surge of Voter Suppression Laws Premised on the Big Lie.” Panel participant. (DFL Lawyers Committee, April 2021)