Native Voters Turned Away at Polls Sue North Dakota
Tribal elder Dorothy Herman voted in North Dakota for more than 40 years. Until 2014, that is, when a new state law meant she couldn’t obtain acceptable identification for that election, no matter how hard she tried. On January 20 of this year, she and six more Native voters who were disenfranchised in 2014 filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s recently enacted limitations on the types of documents that can be used to obtain a ballot.
The list of documents does include tribal ID, along with driver’s licenses, non-driver IDs and long-term-care certificates. However, the item must show a residential address, and some tribal cards do not. In certain cases, tribes can’t include the information because tribal members’ residences don’t have the kind of street numbers used in off-reservation communities. The election safety net of past years is also gone; voters no longer have such options as signing an affidavit attesting to their identity.