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At least 23 dead in tornado-spawning storms sweeping central US, new report finds OR workforce grows, but gaps should be addressed; AM radio in every car? The debate hits Missouri; Proposal would make MI State Capitol a 'gun-free zone.'

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President Biden delivers a Memorial Day address, former president Trump's hush money trial is poised for jury deliberations, and the Justice Department warns of threats to election officials.

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As 2024 vote looms, ND Tribal advocates ramp up outreach

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Friday, September 22, 2023   

While North Dakota does not have voter registration, civic engagement groups say efforts are still needed to help underserved populations get prepared to vote.

An event this week focused on helping Native American communities. Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, and North Dakota Native Vote began its own outreach initiative. "Voter I-D Day" involved working with enrollment offices on reservations around the state, where members could come in and update their tribal ID.

Nicole Donaghy, executive director of the group, said it helps them comply with the state's strict requirements for casting a ballot. She pointed out the awareness issue still comes up in elections.

"Being on standby, we would have to explain the consent decree and how our relatives without proper ID should be able to cast their ballot, and then come back and have it verified," Donaghy explained.

The controversial law led to a consent decree in 2020 after some tribes brought legal challenges, arguing it placed extreme burdens on Indigenous communities. Donaghy noted this week's event saw 150 people update their IDs ahead of the 2024 election. She emphasized the outreach also helps county elections workers know how to review ID cards designed specifically for tribal members.

Donaghy added they continue to address more than just voting requirements. They are monitoring a ballot measure initiative still taking shape which would overhaul North Dakota elections. Among other things, it would ban early voting. Donaghy stressed if approved, the negative impact would be far-reaching.

"These decision-makers that are leading these efforts really don't consider their rural constituents and how this will impact, not only our tribal communities, but people that live very rural in North Dakota," Donaghy contended. "It creates hardships for people that do depend on mail-in ballots so that they can vote early."

Under the proposal, North Dakota would only use paper ballots, and all voting would essentially happen on Election Day with minor exceptions for those needing to vote absentee. Those behind the petition argue it is about restoring election integrity.

Disclosure: North Dakota Native Vote contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Housing/Homelessness, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Native American Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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