Released in 2020 and updated in 2021, Obstacles at Every Turn provides detailed evidence that Native people face obstacles at every turn in the electoral process: from registering to vote, to casting votes, to having votes counted.

Although Native Americans are among the fastest growing populations in the United States, there are strong forces preventing their full political participation. The factors discouraging political participation are:

  1. geographical isolation;
  2. physical and natural barriers;
  3. poorly maintained or non-existent roads;
  4. distance and limited hours of government offices;
  5. technological barriers and the digital divide;
  6. low levels of educational attainment;
  7. depressed socio-economic conditions;
  8. homelessness and housing insecurity;
  9. non-traditional mailing addresses such as post office boxes;
  10. lack of funding for elections; and
  11. discrimination against Native Americans.

In 2017 and 2018, the Native American Voting Rights Coalition—founded by the Native American Rights Fund—held nine public hearings to better understand how Native Americans are systemically and culturally kept from fully exercising their franchise. More than 120 witnesses testified from dozens of tribes across the country. The summary of findings from those hearings was Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters.

Two updates to the Obstacles report were released in October 2021:

Find the report and other voter-related resources at

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