“This isn’t about a particular race, it’s about a fundamental right in this country to have your voice heard.” — Former CU Regent Jim Martin.
A delegation of law students From CU boulder’s American Indian Law Clinic arrived today in North Dakota to make sure Native Americans will be able to vote in Tuesday’s elections. A recent law passed in North Dakota requires all voters to have a form of identification containing a current street address, something that many Native American voters do not have. Former CU Regent Jim Martin is a part of the delegation and says the recent changes to the law in North Dakota are suppressing the voices of Native American voters.
“There are no residential addresses on most of the reservations … the individuals will show up and will not be able to vote because they don’t have a specific address on their ID.”
Most tribal ID cards list post office boxes as addresses, but under the new law IDs must contain a street address. This law is widely seen as a way for the Republican Secretary of State to control elections. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, won the office of Senator for North Dakota by just 2000 votes in 2012. Native Americans, who largely vote Democratic, are credited with tipping that race in her favor.
In 2018 Heitkamp is in a competitive race with the Republican challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer having a double digit lead in recent polls. If Cramer is successful, the Republican party will be one step closer to holding on to their majority in the Senate. Given these circumstances, Jim Martin says the importance of Native American’s ability to vote should not be understated.
“It’s about a fundamental right in this country to have your voice heard.”
Martin says the election observers will observe the voting process in a non-partisan way. “We’re here for the voice of the people to be heard in the state of North Dakota.”