The NCSL Blog


By Amanda Zoch

Just after we published The Canvass saying that voting by mail is hard for many American Indians and Alaska Natives, we received a new report from the Native American Voting Rights Coalition (NAVRC): “Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters.”

CanvassBased on a series of public hearings in 2017 and 2018, the report delineates the specific challenges that American Indians and Alaska Natives encounter in all aspects of the electoral process, not just voting by mail. According to the report, issues like lack of pre-election information, cultural and political isolation, and lack of Native American election workers all create barriers to casting a ballot. Geographic isolation, poor roads and low levels of education pose more general barriers to electoral participation.

The NAVRC report also includes recommendations that federal, state and local election officials can use to mitigate these issues. We highly recommend checking it out.

For a briefer look at vote-by-mail concerns, take a peek at this month’s edition of The Canvass. We focus specifically on the downsides of voting by mail for American Indian and Alaska Native voters, the need for some in-person voting on tribal lands (and in other jurisdictions as well) and the steps some states have taken to ensure voting access for those in Indian Country.

The newest Canvass also includes an interview with Maryland Delegate Nick Mosby (D), a question about ballot collection laws and election news highlights.

Read the full June issue. To subscribe to the newsletter, email us.

Amanda Zoch is an NCSL policy specialist and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.