…should be, I mean, automatic, right? They are the original American citizens after all.
But that is not the case.
So here’s a modicum of good news or, rather, initial steps in Congress toward good news (as noted by DailyKos Elections today):
Voter Registration and Voting Access
• Congress: On Wednesday, leading Senate Democrats introduced the Native American Voting Rights Act, a sweeping piece of legislation designed to ensure equal access to the electoral process for Native Americans. Although the bill almost certainly stands no chance of passing so long as Republicans control Congress, it’s a sign of what Democrats could pass if they retake power.
If this bill becomes law, it would require Justice Department approval for changes to voting laws or procedures that affect Native American lands. The law would help counteract the damage done by the Supreme Court’s infamous Shelby County v. Holder 2013 ruling that gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act requiring states with a history of racial discrimination to obtain DOJ approval for such changes. It would also require the Justice Department to regularly consult with tribal organizations.
Furthermore, the bill seeks to mitigate the suppressive effects of voter ID laws by requiring that tribal IDs be treated like state-issued IDs for the purpose of voting. It would also include measures to make voter registration easier and ensure polling places are located to adequately meet voters’ needs. Finally, it would allocate funding for states and tribal organizations to promote voter education and registration.
Back in 2004, shortly after Bush was elected (not re-elected, since he was not elected in 2000), I wrote a revolutionary book called something like Uncommon Sense: Your Guide to the New [or Second, I can’t remember and am being too lazy to look it up] American Revolution.
Doing research, I found myself at my computer one early morning at 2 am, peering into voting districts all over the country. I was looking for blue districts in red states.
With some surprise and glee, I saw that even in the reddest states — Kansas, for one — there were pinpoint-size blue districts, usually in big university towns. Made sense.
But what really got me was the large swaths of blue in red states: native American reservations.