Can you believe it? This election is now underway. You can now get a ballot in Minnesota … and soon in other states.
This is Trahant Reports.
We’re a little more than a month away from Election Day — and there remain a lot of tasks that need to be completed.
Come to think of it: Even the phrase, “Election Day,” should be changed. Election month? Election season? Or, how about, Election Deadline?
Speaking of deadlines there are a number of those approaching fast. As a reminder Sept. 26 through the 30th is Native Vote Action week. (Look for the hashtag, #NativeVote16 across social media for more information.)
The first question has to be: Are you registered to vote? If not, that’s easy to fix, just go to the web site, NativeVote.Org, and there is an online set-up that is really easy to use.
Several states, including Alaska, require election registration 30-days before the election. Other states are 25 days and 20 days. And my favorite are the state’s where you can register as you vote. We will post a list of state requirements on the Native Voice One page.
One issue of concern: strict voter ID laws. This remains a contentious issue because many state legislature are trying to make it harder for people to cast ballots.
But federal courts are pushing back. In North Dakota for example a federal judge set aside the voter ID law because it would have impacted the rights for some 3,800 Native American voters.
“Voter fraud in North Dakota has been virtually non-existent,” said U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland. He was appointed by President George W. Bush. He said the state “produced no evidence suggesting the public’s confidence in the electoral process would be undermined by excusing those voters who cannot reasonably obtain an ID.”
The key point after the ruling is that there is a “fail-safe” process allowing voters to swear they live in a current precinct (such as north of Cannonball) or a poll worker could vouch for that voter’s eligibility.
One cool voting improvement is the number of states that are setting up automatic registration. According to The Brennan Center for Justice: “Automatic voter registration is picking up speed and bipartisan support. The 2016 session saw more automatic voter registration bills introduced than any other kind of voting legislation. Under automatic registration, the government automatically and securely registers every eligible citizen who interacts with designated government offices unless the person declines to register.”
It’s also possible in many states to vote early. There are now 37 states that open up polls early in designated locations (including some in Indian Country). Other states allow absentee voting for voters by request. And, in three states, Colorado, Washington and Oregon, the entire election is conducted by mail.
I particularly like early voting. It takes away the “x” factor. You know, things like, “something came up.” “I forgot.” “I had a crisis at work.” What ever. Vote early and it’s done.
I am Mark Trahant reporting.
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