North Dakota’s Native Americans surged to the polls amid disenfranchisement fears

Center for Public Integrity

Turnout among Native American voters in North Dakota appeared to surge Tuesday, a striking display of muscle in the wake of a massive and unprecedented campaign to get Native American voters to the polls.

The effort followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that allowed state voter identification requirements to go into effect for the general election. Generally, observers on the state’s reservations said the voting process went smoothly, and tribal members were able to cast their votes using tribal identification.

But Danielle Lang, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center who represents the plaintiffs in last week’s lawsuit, said that was only true because the tribes did “an extraordinary job.”

“I can imagine any number of officials coming forward and saying, ‘Oh look, there weren’t that many problems with Native Americans being able to vote,’ but that’s really very disingenuous,” she said. “The only reason these people were able to vote was because the tribes stepped in and took it on at enormous cost to themselves. They’re not going to be able to do this for every election.”

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