On October 5, 2021, the Senate introduced a modified John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (S.4), which now incorporates the Native American Voting Rights Act (NAVRA) as part of the bill. Subsequently, NARF was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate about Native voting issues. You can watch the hearings below. In order to protect the right to vote on Indian lands, any legislation passed must address the distinct issues confronting Native American voters, including:
- Geographic isolation, often with lack of reliable transportation and poor access to distant polling and registration locations;
- Non-traditional mailing addresses, overcrowded housing, homelessness, and housing instability;
- Lack of residential mail delivery and limited access to post offices;
- Lack of access to affordable and reliable broadband service;
- Native language translation needs, including non-written, during voting process;
- Strong socioeconomic challenges, such as poverty and unemployment;
- Historic and ongoing mistrust of state and local governments.
- Restoring the Voting Rights Act: Protecting the Native American and Alaska Native Vote.Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on the Constitution. Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
- Oversight Hearing on “Voting Matters in Native Communities.” Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Wednesday, October 27, 2021.
These hearings came on the heels of a webinar entitled, “Addressing Barriers to Native American Voting Rights: A Tribal-Federal Roundtable Discussion.” The October 5, 2021, roundtable featured Senator Ben Ray Luján (NM), Senator Jon Tester (MT), Representative Sharice Davids (KS), Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma (Hopi Tribe), Chairwoman Shelly Fyant (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes) and Tanana Chiefs Conference General Counsel Natasha Singh (Stevens Village) discussing how to protect Native American voting rights and how to eliminate barriers that currently limit Native American participation in elections. The webinar was sponsored by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF).
Please enjoy this recording of NCAI, NARF, and very special guests discussing this critical issue for Indian Country and Congress’ role in protecting voting rights for all Native Americans:
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján, New Mexico
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Montana
U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, Kansas
Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma, Hopi Tribe
Chairwoman Shelly Fyant, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Natasha Singh (Stevens Village), Tanana Chiefs Conference General Counsel
Host: Jacqueline De León, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
Learn more at https://vote.narf.org/.
More blog posts