Boosting Native American Numbers At The Polls

One way that can happen is to increase the velocity of voter registration by going to places where Native Americans already gather. One such magnet is the local clinic. A new report from Demos explains why the Indian health clinic is ideal: “Appropriate IHS facilities should be designated as official voter registration agencies along the same lines as state based public assistance agencies are now designated under the National Voter Registration Act.”

REPORT: Ensuring Access To The Ballot For American Indians & Alaska Natives

This basic idea has worked in other places where low-income voters register at public assistance agencies. Demos found that when the law was implemented tens of thousands of new voters were added in North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois. “In Illinois, the number of public agency registration applications is now at levels 18 times the rate before re-implementation” of that voting registration law. That’s exactly the kind of boost that would be needed to register a million American Indian and Alaska Native voters. This process would also be cost-effective voter registration, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the total cost at less than $500,000 over a four-year period.

Read more of Mark Trahant's journalism at his site www.marktrahant.com