Obama administration to make push on American Indian voting rights

WASHINGTON Mon Jun 9, 2014 1:06pm EDT

United States Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington May 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Gary Cameron

United States Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington May 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Concerned that American Indians are being unfairly kept out of the voting process, the Obama administration is considering a proposal that would require voting districts with tribal land to have at least one polling site in a location chosen by the tribe's government, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday.

Holder said the Justice Department would begin consulting tribal authorities on whether it should suggest that Congress pass a law that would apply to state and local administrators whose territory includes tribal lands.

The announcement came as President Barack Obama was expected to travel to an American Indian reservation in North Dakota on Friday. Last Thursday, Holder addressed a tribal conference in the same state.

Associate Attorney General Tony West on Monday will expand upon Holder's announcement in Anchorage, Alaska, where he will address a conference held by the National Congress of American Indians.

"Our proposal would give American Indian and Alaska Native voters a right that most other citizens take for granted: a polling place in their community where they can cast a ballot and receive voter assistance to make sure their vote will be counted," West is expected to say, according a statement from the Justice Department.

Since last summer's Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the Justice Department has lost some of its authority over voting practices as it is no longer in a position to provide mandatory "preclearance," or approval, of changes in voting practices in certain jurisdictions.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, 5.2 million people living in the United States identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, approximately 1.7 percent of the population.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Dan Grebler)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
4825 wrote:
The liberal democrats trying another attempt to buy some votes today using the same old divide and conquer politics that they use all the time.

Jun 09, 2014 2:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Speakerbliss wrote:
Puzzling statement, making it easier for “all” citizens to vote is buying votes? That is a strange and twisted logic.

Jun 09, 2014 4:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
4825 wrote:
Nothing puzzling about it. The Democrats have had the executive branch for 6 years and just now see an issue that needs to be fixed in an election year. Give me a break. Yes it is vote buying as you can buy things with more than just money.

Jun 09, 2014 4:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.