Published March 31, 2022

White House report details barriers for Indigenous voters

By Emma Gibson

(Felicia Montoya, Markus Wall and Kema)

News Brief

Last Thursday, the Biden administration released a report detailing what Indigenous voters face and solutions federal, state, and local governments should take.

Emma Gibson reports that some of the barriers highlighted in the 54-page report include extreme distances to polls, lack of standard addresses, and language barriers.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • Adding post offices in tribal lands.
  • Ensuring reliable internet access.
  • Accepting tribal ID cards as forms of government ID.

Gibson spoke with Austin Weahkee, political director of New Mexico Native Vote and is Cochiti, Zuni, and Navajo. He explained removing these barriers is necessary for voter engagement.

“We saw record turnout in 2020. We saw that Native voters can make a difference. They can win or lose a candidate just by virtue of showing up to the polls,” Weahkee said.

One man he knows walked six hours to vote in 2020 but received a ride to his second polling station. One problem is tribal, state, and federal governments using different polling locations on Election Day.

Weahkee hopes the report pushes lawmakers to pass federal voting rights legislation.

listen to the audio for the full story
TRT [1:04]

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.