Washington could remove barriers to registering to vote and casting ballots on reservations, where voter participation is lower than the rest of the state. Committees in the House and Senate on Wednesday considered identical versions of the Native American Voting Rights Act, which would allow tribal members with nontraditional addresses to register and be mailed ballots and allow tribes to request more drop boxes. Problems with addresses and distant drop boxes prevent tribal members from registering and voting, said Alex Hur, who represents One America and Washington Voting Justice Coalition.
“We believe that our democracy is at its best and strongest when every voice is heard and every vote is counted – every eligible voter should be able to fully participate in our democracy – and that our laws should encourage participation,” Hur told the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.
Hur cited statistics from the National Congress of American Indians that indicate tribal members nationwide have a 14 percent lower voter turnout.