US proposal would ease voting access for American Indians

AP News
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Posted: May 21, 2015 5:21 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Thursday proposed legislation to make it easier for American Indians and Alaska Natives to vote.

A legislative proposal sent to Congress would require states and territories that are home to Indian reservations or tribal lands to have at least one polling place in a site selected by the tribal government.

Among other things, the proposal would also require states to make voting machines and ballots available at tribally located polling places, and to use the same voting procedures that are in place at other polling locations in the state.

"The legislation we recommend today will make this nation stronger by extending meaningful voting opportunities to native populations, by encouraging full participation in our democratic institutions, and by bringing us closer to our most cherished ideals," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

The proposal is designed to ease the voting process for American Indians, who often have to travel long distances to vote and are a population that the Justice Department says is underrepresented at the polls.

Tribes with large populations or territories would be able to request more than one polling place, and states could also meet their obligations by creating new polling places or relocating existing ones.