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NCAI report cites concerns about voter ID laws in certain states

Voter identification laws pose "significant barriers" to American Indians and Alaska Native voters in six states, the National Congress of American Indians said in a report on Monday.

Alaska, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin require voters to present photo identification at the polls. All are states with a significant number of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Two states in particular -- Alaska, where Alaska Natives make up 16 percent of the population, and Florida -- won't accept tribal IDs at the pools. A third state, Minnesota, is considering a law that could leave out tribal cards.

“We will not be deterred – Indian Country is focused on turning out the largest Native vote in history this year – and this report helps us focus our protection and education efforts. Voter ID laws and photo ID laws are a major concern and we are working to make sure Native voters have the information they need to make their voice heard,” NCAI President Jefferson Keel said in a press release.

The NCAI report also highlighted barriers that Native voters face in obtaining a valid ID to vote in these states. A lack of street addresses on reservations and Alaska Native villages is one issue that could hinder turnout, the group said.

Get the Story:
Mark Trahant: Elections 2012: National Congress of American Indians Challenges ID Laws, Promotes Native Voters (Indian Country Today 10/23)
National tribal group focuses on voter ID laws, encourages registration in Indian Country (AP 10/22)
Brown lauds strength of American Indians (AP 10/22)

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