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Attorney General announces plan to work with tribal leaders, increase Native voting access

6/10/14 under General News

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General News

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6/10/14

On June 9, Attorney General Eric Holder said that his office will work with tribes to increase voting access for American Indians and Alaska Natives across the United States.

Holder specifically suggested requiring every state or local election official whose territory includes tribal lands to have the local tribal government choose the site of one polling place, according to a press release on the Department of Justice website.

Holder plans to develop this, and related ideas to increase voting access, with tribal leaders, and then work with Congress on a legislative proposal, according to the Associated Press.

All of this is in response to conditions that make it difficult for American Indians and Alaska Natives to vote in some areas, such as Alaska.

After the Supreme Court Decision in Shelby County v. Holder last year weakened the Voting Rights Act, Alaska Natives in more than a dozen villages lost the ability to vote in person, forcing them to vote by absentee ballot or not at all, Alaska Associate Attorney General Tony West said, according to The Washington Post.

Throughout the country, Native voter participation is lower than non-Native voter participation, according to the Justice Department via The Washington Post.

West discussed the announcement during a speech to the National Congress of the American Indians in Anchorage on June 9.

Read more about Holder’s announcement here. You can also read the Department of Justice press release.


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