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Wed Apr 17, 2019, 02:40 AM

Tribes denounce North Dakota ID law in congressional hearing

Source: Associated Press

Tribes denounce North Dakota ID law in congressional hearing

By BLAKE NICHOLSON
April 16, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Native American voters face poor access to polling sites, discrimination by poll workers and unfair identification requirements, tribal leaders told members of Congress who traveled Tuesday to a reservation in North Dakota where voting rights were a key issue in last year’s U.S. Senate race.

A House elections subcommittee’s meeting at the Standing Rock reservation was the latest in a series of on-site visits across the country on voting-rights issues. Activists told the panel that obstacles still remain more than five decades after Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which aimed to eliminate such impediments for minority voters.

“There continues to be barriers — interpersonal and systemic — at our polling locations in our tribal communities and for our Native voters across the state,” said activist Prairie Rose Seminole, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation in northwestern North Dakota.

The bulk of the two-hour hearing focused on North Dakota’s voter ID requirements, which have led to two federal lawsuits by tribes who allege the rules are discriminatory and suppress the American Indian vote, which leans Democrat in a Republican-dominant state.

The voter ID dispute drew national attention last fall because of a U.S. Senate race in North Dakota that was seen as critical to Republicans’ chances to keep control of the Senate. Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer defeated Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who was seeking a second term.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/d35161f2ae964613a241d120c31752dc

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