Thursday, March 23, 2023


A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.


The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Ballot Access Still a Concern for Native Voters in ND


Monday, October 12, 2020   

CANNON BALL, N.D. -- Today is Indigenous Peoples Day. In North Dakota, advocates are honoring their heritage by ramping up efforts to ensure Native Americans overcome voting obstacles in the 2020 election.

The race is on to help those living on reservations know what they have to do to cast their ballot. But with the pandemic ravaging North Dakota right now, that road to provide assistance has become more narrow.

Nicole Donaghy, director of North Dakota Native Vote, said they're still encouraging tribal members to vote absentee.

But COVID is limiting activity on reservations for residents to deliver those ballots, while longstanding issues, such as internet access and postage fees haven't gone away.

She said limited dropboxes pose another problem.

"In Standing Rock, for instance, there's going to be only one dropbox, and that'll be at the courthouse," Donaghy explained. "And so, like if you live in Cannon Ball, you'll have to drive 20 miles to get your ballot to that dropbox."

She noted in a community on the Spirit Lake reservation, the post office has closed, creating another barrier.

Donaghy's group sought clarification from the Secretary of State on whether they could assist with ballot collection. The response didn't provide a clear opinion, so the group is holding off out of caution, so ballots aren't disqualified.

The group has been training volunteers on reservations to do outreach so that tribal members are protected during the pandemic. And Donaghy said they're placing a lot of focus on updating their website with necessary information.

Meanwhile, State Rep. Ruth Buffalo, D-Fargo, worked with North Dakota Native Vote on seeking clarification on the ballot issue.

She agreed the current statute is too vague for groups to explore the idea of collecting them. She said it underscores the need for the state to be more proactive in helping this population prepare for a crisis.

"Anything that we can do to prevent further stress on communities who are already experiencing chronic stress," Buffalo offered.

Buffalo said the issues right before the 2020 vote are very similar to the last-minute court decision in 2018 that allowed enforcement of the state's voter ID law.

Many say the law disenfranchises Native voters. While there was still record turnout among the Native population that year, there are lingering concerns there might be a setback given all the challenges this time.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in an Arizona case concerning ballot collection for tribes.

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

get more stories like this via email
In 2020, 35% of Idaho mothers had Medicaid at the time of their child's birth. (WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With concerning trends emerging for pregnant and postpartum women, frustration is growing that Idaho lawmakers could end the session without …

Health and Wellness

Health advocates are promoting a package of bills this legislative session to make health care easier to get - and more affordable. The Care 4 All …

Social Issues

A new study from the University of New Hampshire found New England's LGBTQ+ residents experience higher rates of food insufficiency, the measure of …

According to the Center for American Progress, nearly nine in 10 employers, four in five landlords, and three in five colleges use background checks to screen for applicants' criminal records. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A large percentage of Missourians who could to have their criminal records "expunged" have not done so, despite the effects expungement -- referred …

Social Issues

A person's work personnel file can be important to review, but some Washingtonians are finding them hard to obtain. A bill in Olympia would ensure …

The most recent Farm Bill covered areas such as agricultural conservation, trade and foreign food assistance, farm credit and research. (Adobe Stock)


The U.S. Farm Bill is up for reauthorization, and Congress faces calls to avoid any delays so certain programs can keep helping farmers and consumers …

Social Issues

Youth advocates continue to sound the alarm over the impact flavored tobacco products have on teenagers, and hope Minnesota lawmakers take another …


As wildfire seasons in Colorado and across the American West become longer, less predictable and increasingly destructive, a new report aims to …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021