National: U.S. Senators urge the Department Of Justice to protect voting rights in Indian Country | Meridith Depping/KULR
The Department of Justice is being urged by several U.S. Senators to work with tribes to ensure voters in Indian County are not being kept away from voting.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many Tribal polling places are being closed, and 14 U.S. Senators are requesting the DOJ work with Tribal governments to find solutions that do not disenfranchise voters in Indian Country.
“With the 2020 general election fast approaching, there is concern that measures intended to ensure safe voting during the pandemic may make [existing] challenges worse,” a letter sent to the DOJ reads. “Across the country, states are closing polling locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic…We are deeply concerned that the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tribal communities will spread to the ballot box via changes in voting procedures that may disenfranchise Native American voters.”
In the letter, the senators ask the DOJ to answer the following questions:
Will the Department commit to working with Tribal leaders and Native American communities to find solutions to problems associated with voting during a pandemic that will not disenfranchise voters?
Has the Department received complaints regarding a lack of polling locations for Native American voters during this year’s primary elections? Please provide reports detailing those complaints and any documents citing complaints that voters were unable to cast a vote due to the lack of accessible poll locations.
Has the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Indian Working Group engaged with election officials to ensure that Native American voting rights are protected during the upcoming elections? If so, what actions have been taken?
“Voting is one of the most important ways that the American people can ensure their elected leaders are held accountable for their actions and decisions, and we should be doing everything we can to strengthen this right,” the letter goes on to say.
You can read the full letter sent to the Department of Justice here.