Harris Meets With Tribal Leaders to Discuss Native American Voting Rights

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Harris Meets With Tribal Leaders to Discuss Native American Voting Rights” – below is their description.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris says “democracy is strongest in our country when everyone participates.”

Harris comments came during a meeting with Native American leaders who are looking to get better voting rights.

“I have asked these leaders to join me so we can talk and I can hear from them, most importantly, about what we must do to address the issue,” said Harris.

“That is a longstanding and a recent issue around attempts to interfere with all peoples right to vote. In particular, I think it is important to always speak the truth about history.”

One example is the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. includes parts of three Arizona counties, all of which had different approaches to precinct voting in the 2020 general election.

Voters in Apache County had to cast ballots at the polling location they were assigned.

People registered in Navajo County could vote anywhere in the county. Coconino County used a hybrid model.

The Navajo Nation has long argued the approach is inconsistent and confusing, leading to ballots being rejected and tribal members being denied the same opportunity to vote as others in Arizona.

But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed in a broader case over Arizona voting regulations, upholding a prohibition on counting ballots cast in the wrong precinct and returning early ballots for another person.

The ruling will reach broadly into tribal communities, particularly those where Indigenous people don’t have residential mail service or must drive long distances to polling sites and the post office.

In the 2020 election, more than 2,000 voters in Apache County were placed on a list because of questions surrounding their residency, the Navajo Nation noted in court documents.

Neither the state nor the county had online options for voters to determine their polling location without a street address, tribal attorneys wrote.

There’s no public transportation on the 27,000-square-mile (70,000-square-kilometer) Navajo Nation that’s bigger than 10 U.S. states.

It stretches into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Many people rely on friends, family or strangers for rides.

Poor roads increase the difficulties of voting, the tribe said. More than four-fifths of the reservation’s roads are unpaved.

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