Distance, Language can still pose challenge to Native American voting

The Daily Yonder
May 16, 2018

WASHINGTON – Arusha Gordon remembers hearing the decades-old stories from her Native American clients about the challenges of voting back then.

Polling places were often miles off reservation and located in mostly white towns whose residents were not always welcoming, said Gordon, voting rights counsel for the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law.

James Tucker heard the same stories from tribal members who said it was sometimes easier to skip elections completely.

Those challenges are a thing of the past say Gordon and Tucker, the voting rights counsel for the Native American Rights Fund. But voting can still be a challenge for Native Americans, who may face language barriers, registration difficulties and a lack of access to polling places and government services that can ease the voting process.

“It’s an issue that often gets overlooked,” Gordon said. “They (tribes) never get as many resources directed towards them.”

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