As many election officials across the country move to bolster vote by mail efforts in their states amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some leaders in Native American communities are worried their voters could be left behind if voting by mail becomes the overwhelming norm for conducting the 2020 election.
Their concerns are largely rooted in existing hurdles facing some Native Americans living in rural communities and who, as a result, would not be able to easily access the resources necessary to register and vote in a predominately all-mail election.
As outlined by the Native American Rights Fund, an organization that provides legal assistance to tribes and Native American individuals, the potential obstacles range from issues with access to traditional mail services, to a lack of broadband connectivity, and in some cases, cultural communication barriers. Experts also point out that high poverty rates and some states’ voter identification requirements create even more potential roadblocks for Native Americans seeking to cast their ballots.
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