Native American tribes to sue Nevada over voter disenfranchisement
A pair of Native American tribes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the state of Nevada and Washoe and Mineral counties after being denied voter registration sites and polling places on tribal lands.
The basis of the suit is voter disenfranchisement of a protected class under the Voting Rights Act as well as equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs — the Pyramid Lake Paiutes and the Walker River Paiutes — argue that a lack of access to voter registration and polling places on the reservation has hampered Native American turnout.
Native American registration and turnout is historically low, mainly due to access and other barriers, according to Bret Healy, a consultant for the Native American advocacy group Four Directions, who is overseeing the lawsuit. He’s handled similar requests in other states and said that if they are granted, turnout tends to increase dramatically, sometimes as much as 130 percent.