Jodi Rave: NCAI leads voter protection effort
"The National Congress of American Indians is leading a national “election protection” measure to ensure every Native vote counts next Tuesday, with efforts ranging from phone-a-lawyer initiatives to polling place translators.

“We've joined forces with a larger coalition, like the ACLU, the NAACP and other minority groups, Latinos, Hispanics and Asians,” said Jacqueline Johnson, NCAI executive director, on Thursday. “We've been able to put together a 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline for anybody in the country to be able to call.

“What we've been able to do with NCAI is make sure - that at the end of the line for people who are calling from Indian Country - is that they actually be able to talk with somebody who has knowledge about Indian Country issues. It will be a Native attorney or someone who works for a tribe.”

Organizers with the NCAI Native Vote Initiative have been working with tribes in 20 states to ensure Native voters aren't intimidated, a problem in previous elections.

At least three lawsuits were filed, or settled, in 2008 after Native votes allegedly were suppressed in Alaska, Montana and Arizona.

While Native people make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, the Native vote in some districts is as high as 20 percent, allowing for enough voters to determine the final results of an election."

Get the Story:
Group leads effort to protect Native voters (The Missoulian 10/31)

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