Civil rights groups are expressing outrage over a recent Supreme Court ruling that could make it harder for Native Americans in North Dakota to cast their votes in the upcoming midterm elections. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled against overturning North Dakota’s controversial voter ID law which requires voters to present identification that verifies a current residential street address. Proponents of the law say it will help prevent voter fraud. Opponents say it will prevent many Native Americans from voting. “Addressing on reservations and in rural Native American communities is spotty,” Jacqueline D. De Leon, a member of the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico and an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), told VOA in August.
“Many homes lack street addresses, and their owners must depend on post office boxes to send and receive mail. In addition, poverty and housing shortages have left many homeless or moving from house to house couch surfing, so they aren’t able to produce addresses.”
In April, a federal district court in North Dakota ordered the state to allow voters to cast ballots, provided they had ID cards with a current street address. The court ruled that P.O. Box numbers were permissible, and Native Americans were able to participate in primary elections held in June. But last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals put that order on hold and took the issue to the Supreme Court, which ruled against the federal district court on Oct. 9.