White House report details barriers for Indigenous voters
The Biden administration released a report Thursday detailing the barriers Indigenous voters face. It also recommends solutions federal, state and local governments should take.
Some of the barriers highlighted in the report include extreme distances to polls, lack of standard addresses and language barriers.
Austin Weahkee is the political director of NM Native Vote and is Cochiti, Zuni and Navajo. He says removing these barriers is necessary for voter engagement.
“We saw record turnout in 2020. We saw that Native voters can make a difference. They can win or lose a candidate just by virtue of showing up to the polls,” Weahkee said.
He says one problem is tribal, state, and federal governments using different polling locations on Election Day — one man he knows almost had to walk six hours to vote in 2020, but received a ride to his second polling station
Some of the report’s recommendations include adding post offices in tribal lands, ensuring reliable internet access, and clearly accepting tribal ID cards as forms of government ID.
Weahkee hopes the report pushes lawmakers to pass federal voting rights legislation.
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