Jodi Rave: Montana Democrats target Indian vote
"Betty Cooper, a Democratic campaign organizer on the Blackfeet Reservation, said she sent a volunteer to “enemy territory” on Thursday to register Native voters living among the Republican majority in Cut Bank.

Cooper said she will not be easily dissuaded by the Republican Party's move this week to challenge the eligibility of 6,000 voters in six state counties, two of which include the Blackfeet and Rocky Boy's reservations.

“We're well aware they are watching us no matter what we do,” said Cooper. “We're just trying to get people registered. It seems like for Indian people, the only time we have a voice is when we vote. If we can get all our people to vote, there's not much the Republicans can do to us.” Democratic campaign workers across Montana have displayed similar determination. Organizers are close to meeting registration goals on four of the seven reservations. Natives make up 6 percent of Montana's population, one of three states where the Obama-Biden campaign is targeting the Native vote. Similar Native-vote efforts are under way in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

“Senator Obama this year, and Montana Democrats for many years, has invested time and resources in Indian Country that is unprecedented,” said Kevin O'Brien, Democratic Party spokesman. “The excitement and the energy we've seen, especially among the first Montanans, is really amazing. It's a big piece of the Democratic coalition.”

Natives make up 61 percent of the Glacier County population and 20 percent of Hill County where 6,900 Native voters were registered in both counties for the June primary. Glacier County had one of the third highest reservation turnouts in the primary election, with 40 percent of the people casting votes."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Democratic organizers going after Native vote (The Missoulian 10/3)

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