Our 2020 report, Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters, identified voter registration opportunities across Indian Country as inadequate. Native voters experience unequal access to voter registration opportunities and unequal funding for voter registration efforts on tribal lands.

Text: Increasing Access to Voter Registration Strengthens Democracy

To help address these inequities, we joined a diverse coalition of organizations—including voting, health, immigration, faith, labor, environmental, education, housing, justice reform, and other groups—in publishing Strengthening Democracy: A Progress Report on Federal Agency Action to Promote Access to Voting, which evaluates 10 key agencies on how well they’re doing on meeting the goals of a Biden Executive Order aimed at expanding voter access, especially for historically underserved voting populations. The report shows that while a few federal agencies are on the right track to completing implementation, several others have fallen behind and risk not achieving the voting access Executive Orders’s potential before the next federal election. Two of these agencies directly serve Native voters:

  • The Department of Interior (DOI) is identified as being “on the right track.” Since the Executive Order was issued, DOI has integrated voter registration services into tribal educational facilities that it runs.
  • In contrast, Indian Health Services (IHS) is falling behind. While IHS initially committed to offering voter registration services, no action has been taken. IHS is an agency that could have a significant impact on Native voters access to voter registration.

Native voters have been underserved for too long and we must call on federal agencies to fully implement the Executive Order, increase Native voter services, and protect our democracy.

Read more about the agencies’ progress in Strengthening Democracy: A Progress Report on Federal Agency Action to Promote Access to Voting

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