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Four Directions Organizing Native Voter ID Assistance in North Dakota

Two weeks ago, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals approved a North Dakota voter ID law that could disenfranchise thousands of Native American voters. While some Indian voting rights advocates are appealing to the conservative Gorsuch/Kavanaugh Supreme Court to overturn this oppressive regulation, Rosebud-based Four Directions is planning to help tribal governments place officials at every voting location to provide tribal voters with the documents they need to get their ballots:

Barbara and Oliver Semans, Four Directions, to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, 2018.10.08, p. 1.
Barbara and Oliver Semans, Four Directions, to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, 2018.10.08, p. 1.
Barbara and Oliver Semans, Four Directions, to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, 2018.10.08, p. 2.
Barbara and Oliver Semans, Four Directions, to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, 2018.10.08, p. 2.

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger has said that voters may present documents like utility bills to establish their residency. An official letter from a tribal official saying, “Joseph Duchenaux lives here” should cut equivalent mustard. It’s just a darn shame that we make fellow Americans work so hard to exercise their basic rights.

60 Comments

  1. Jason 2018-10-09

    It’s up to any individual to prove they are a ND resident no matter what race they are.

    Why are SD democrats against fraud and corruption except when it comes to elections?

  2. Monty 2018-10-09

    Many Natives living on reservations in ND do not have an assigned residential street addresses and instead use a PO Box for mail. They cannot provide any document, like a utility bill, with a residential address because they have no residential address. This is not a new or unique situation. The ND SOS was well aware of this rural addressing issue.

    It’s not a SD Democrat thing. Four Directions is a non-partisan voting rights group. They forced the Montana SOS, Linda McCulloch, a Democrat, to provide in person absentee voting for reservation residents. There are voter suppression enthusiasts in both major parties.

  3. mike from iowa 2018-10-09

    Why are Northern Mississippi trolls so in favor of voter fraud and voter suppression efforts by wingnuts?

    The election fraud exposed in recent elections has been perpetrated by wingnut voters, almost exclusively. Why is it wingnuts claim fraud abounds, but, only they seem fraudulent? Why does the troll stand up for fraud?

    Why do wingnuts want to prevent legal voters from voting? Shouldn’t we be encouraging more people to participate? Who pays Jason and others to disrupt the blog and hijack threads?

  4. bearcreekbat 2018-10-09

    mfi, don’t forgrt that these days it seems that Trump, his supporters and many in our own Republican party have adopted the “projection” technique in which they try to hide their questionable conduct by claiming some “other” or some “enemy” is engaging in that precise conduct. Unfortunately, but predictably, it appears that voter fraud is just one more example of such projection.

  5. Darin Larson 2018-10-09

    Jason,

    Why do you assume that a person that swears that they are a resident of ND is not telling the truth, but you assume that a person that is nominated to be a supreme court justice is telling the truth when he denies an allegation of sexual assault?

    The first scenario is the carrying out of a fundamental American right to vote guaranteed by the Constitution, while the second scenario involves no fundamental right for a person to serve on the supreme court. Yet, you assume truthfulness when it comes to Kavanaugh and untruthfulness when it comes to people asserting their right to vote. It’s interesting how the rich and powerful elites get your unconditional approval, but everyday Americans must bear the burden of proving their legitimacy.

  6. jerry 2018-10-09

    Register to vote https://www.vote.org/ Then vote!! Early voting is here folks, let’s do this. Billie Sutton, Tim Bjorkman, and our own Cory! Clean the joint’s up and put some class and honesty in Pierre and in Washington.

  7. Monty 2018-10-09

    Jerry, it took an expensive taxpayer funded loss in federal court for Montana D SOS McCulloch to agree equal access to early in-person absentee voting was in the public interest. The Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice supported Plaintiffs Mark Wandering Medicine v SOS McCulloch, yet she continued to dismiss the argument that unequal ballot access caused harm to Native voters and it was too costly. The Tester Heitkamp bill was a remedy to McCulloch’s behavior.

  8. Jason 2018-10-09

    Monty wrote:

    Many Natives living on reservations in ND do not have an assigned residential street addresses and instead use a PO Box for mail.

    That sounds like the Tribe didn’t get their ducks in a row.

    The ND Native Americans only have their tribal leadership to blame.

  9. jerry 2018-10-09

    Then I read the article wrong Monty.

  10. OldSarg 2018-10-09

    The problem is somewhat self-induced. I understand the Native American desire to act as a sovereign state but the refusal to have addresses was a decision the tribes make which causes the issue. Back in 2003 I was inspecting a new elderly housing project. Part of the project was the installation of mailboxes in the lobby. During the tour a disabled Native Vet asked if he could get his mail delivered to the apartment. The guy was rolling his wheelchair 1 mile down the highway to Pine Ridge just to check his mail. Being pretty new to working on the reservation I thought having your mail delivered made sense so I sought out the postman. When I spoke with the postman (flat out jerk) he said “sure, but they don’t have an address so I can’t.” and walked away from me. I filed a complaint but him being a federal employee nothing happened. They have 911 service on all the resNow with GPS and 911 everyone does have an address even on the reservation. If you have 911 service you can go to the Emergency Manager. They have the latitude and longitude address. Just get 911 to give them an “official” printout and the problem is solved. Here is the Pine Ridge site you can request it from: https://ostdps.org/ They could do the same thing in North Dakota. Just think how many fewer racist and voter suppression there will be if you Brainiacs solve the problem rather than just harp about it.

  11. jerry 2018-10-09

    Monty, what I really like is the fact that Native representation will be at the polling places where the early voting will be held. Great idea and one to keep doing for sure. Tribal members would then have the confidence their vote will be counted and there will not be the feeling of intimidation like was once had with the county sheriffs being there.

    The Native vote is as important as can be to bring members into a feeling of belonging as well as having their say. The best to Four Directions.

  12. Debbo 2018-10-09

    The history of white people’s fraud, disenfranchisement, land grabs, etc., has never stopped. It’s so shameful. Honorable, decent human beings don’t mistreat other human beings because they can. That tells us what type of people are trying to suppress the voting rights of American Indians.

  13. OldSarg 2018-10-09

    Debbo, have you ever been to a reservation?

  14. OldSarg 2018-10-09

    I meant “other than in the casino”.

  15. Debbo 2018-10-09

    Many times OS, for weeks at a time, but never a casino. However, that’s not where I learned the majority of history of American Indians.

    You and Grudz try really hard to discredit commenters based on certain physical locations. Yet you 2 hide your names so no one can really know how big your lies are. When you choose to reveal yourself, then I might take your location cheap shots seriously. Until then, try being brave and addressing the substance of my comment.

  16. OldSarg 2018-10-10

    I’m not trying to discredit you so much as to make you think. There is not only one side to everything and only your view. “white people’s fraud, disenfranchisement, land grabs, etc., has never stopped” not ALL white people are racist. Not all white people commit fraud. Not all white people did the to the Native Americans. Look at the issue and determine how to resolve the issue rather than trashing everyone you wish to indiscriminately point at. The problem is “To vote you must have an address that the voting system can use to determine if you are eligible to vote in that area or not.” Many reservations do not have addresses. The why they do or do not have addresses is a secondary matter but I can tell you it isn’t because of racism. So, sitting in your chair calling this group or that group racist, privileged or whatever doesn’t resolve the issue. I suggested they use the geographic coordinate system. Every location on earth has a global address. 911 services use them in remote areas. You can navigate your car, plane or boat with them. The community 911/Emergency services can provide a geographic coordinate system location for anyone who goes to them and you can get that notarized, validated or whatever you choose to prove that is your “address”. That would fix the problem allowing the person to vote.

    Bitching about groups you do not like, blaming all white people (of which you are part) doesn’t. You are a white girl in Minnesota just complaining on a blog. Be part of the solution not just a bomb throwing agitator. It isn’t very attractive, and honestly in the end, that is what you would like isn’t it?

  17. mike from iowa 2018-10-10

    SPOTUS tells North Da Vote Suppressors to suppress all the Native votes they want.

    Wonkette has the story but the link is NSFW-salty langwidge. Wonkette? Yeah, I know it is shocking,

  18. mike from iowa 2018-10-10

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/georgia-voting-rights-brian-kemp-stacey-abrams_us_5bbe435fe4b0876edaa4d908

    Kemp is the AG and is also a candidate for governor of Georgia. He has managed to throw over a million registered voters, mostly black, off Georgia voter rolls in pursuit of non-existent voter fraud. It never ends with these wingnut crooks and they should be arrested and thrown in jail, stripped of their pensions and prohibited from being in the same county with a voting booth forever.

  19. Robb Lincoln 2018-10-11

    OldSarge, true, not ALL white people may not be racist, and yet all benefit equally from racism. Stopping the implementation and continuation of racist policies and organizations is therefore, by definition a “white problem”.

  20. Jason 2018-10-11

    Robb Lincoln,

    Please explain how “whites” benefit from the racism of affirmative action?

  21. jerry 2018-10-11

    Widdle Russian, look in mirror to see White privilege.

  22. Jason 2018-10-11

    Thanks for the link to “Opinion” pages. lol.

    Try posting links to facts next time.

  23. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    And SCOTUS declines to hear a ND case which leaves in place a lower court ruling that Native Americans who live on reservations in ND without street designations and residential addresses cannot vote in the upcoming election. Their ID must have residential addresses which they do not have. How convenient.
    .

  24. OldSarg 2018-10-11

    Robin, I gave you the fix and it would work “if” you cared. If you don’t care then we all understand you just want to cry and bitch and not make things better.

    They have 911 service on the reservations even without a “street address”. The can use their already defined geospatial coordinates for an address. They only need to call their Emergency Management office and get the coordinates issued from a government entity (Emergency Management Office) and submit that as their address.

    Please be better than to just bitch and make an actual difference instead.

  25. Jason 2018-10-11

    Robin, they had at least two years to get addresses. Are you saying they are not competant enough to do this?

  26. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    Amy Howe Independent Contractor and Reporter

    Posted Tue, October 9th, 2018 4:57 pm
    Email Amy
    Bio & Post Archive »
    Court stays out of North Dakota voting dispute

    The Supreme Court today declined to intervene in a challenge to a North Dakota law that requires voters to present identification that includes a current residential street address. Lawyers say that the ruling will prevent thousands of Native American voters (and tens of thousands of North Dakota residents who are not Native Americans) from casting a ballot in the upcoming 2018 election in a state that could play a key role in Democrats’ efforts to retake the U.S. Senate.

    A group of Native American voters in North Dakota have challenged the law, telling the courts that the requirement that voters present identification bearing a street address could pose an obstacle to voting for Native Americans in several ways. Native Americans often live on reservations or in other rural areas where people do not have street addresses; even if they do, lawyers for the challengers argue, those addresses are frequently not included on tribal IDs. Moreover, the lawyers add, Native Americans in North Dakota are “disproportionately homeless.”

    In April, a federal district court in North Dakota ordered the state to allow voters to cast ballots as long as they could show IDs that had either a current street address or a current mailing address, such as a P.O. box. The state followed that order in the June primaries, but in September the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit put the district court’s order on hold.

    The challengers went to the Supreme Court last week to ask the justices to step in. They told the court that a change in the voting rules “so close to the election—after voting has actually started—will irreparably injure Native American voters and cause serious voter confusion.”

    The state urged the justices to stay out of the dispute, emphasizing that the law is intended to combat voter fraud and guarantee that voters (who, unlike in most states, are not required to register in advance) get the right ballots when they go to the polls. The state argued that the street-address requirement is easy to satisfy: Voters can provide proof of address through their IDs or, if necessary, through other documents like a pay stub or a utility bill. If the district court’s order were reinstated, the state warned, nonresidents could vote in the state’s election simply by renting a P.O. box there. At a minimum, the state predicted, there would be “confusion and mistakes” when a voter’s P.O. box is not in the same precinct where he actually lives. And in any event, the state added, because each of the challengers in this case has a street address, there is no reason for the district court to block North Dakota from applying the law anywhere in the state.

    The dispute came to the court just a little over a month before the 2018 midterm elections, in which Democrats are hoping to retake the Senate. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp appears to face an uphill battle in her re-election campaign: A recent poll indicated that she is currently trailing her opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer, by 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent, in a state with only roughly 600,000 voting-age residents.

    The challengers’ request went originally to Justice Neil Gorsuch, who handles emergency appeals from the 8th Circuit, but he referred it to the full Supreme Court — a fairly common practice. To stay the 8th Circuit’s ruling and prevent the state from enforcing the ID requirement, the challengers needed at least five of the eight justices (Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate) to vote in their favor. But they apparently fell short. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from the court’s decision not to intervene, in a brief opinion that was joined by Justice Elena Kagan. Ginsburg complained that the “risk of voter confusion appears severe here because the injunction against requiring residential-address identification was in force during the primary election and because the Secretary of State’s website announced for months the identification requirements as they existed under that injunction.” Ginsburg acknowledged that, as the 8th Circuit had emphasized, the elections are still a month away. However, Ginsburg stressed, tens of thousands of North Dakotans don’t have an ID bearing their residential street address. As a result, she warned, the 8th Circuit’s order “may lead to voters finding out at the polling place that they cannot vote because their formerly valid ID is now insufficient.”

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/10/court-stays-out-of-north-dakota-voting-dispute/

  27. Darin Larson 2018-10-11

    Robin Friday,

    You know SCOTUS just had to go by the plain wording of the Constitution that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. . . . or sex” but if you don’t have a street address you are SOL. I couldn’t find that last part, but it must be in the Constitution somewhere.

    Looks like the Republican majority on SCOTUS is going to make sure that Heitkamp doesn’t stand a chance of reelection in North Dakota. Out of state RVers are going to get to vote in ND, but Native Americans on the reservation, not so much. That is protecting the rights of “real Americans” to decide this country’s political leadership–the wingnut way.

  28. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    Darin, looks like voter suppression in action. Stopping people who want to vote and are even willing to go to court to make it happen, but the Repubs will find some way to bully them and obstruct and keep it from happening, whatever deceitful strategy they have to use, and then claim they are the bully victims.

  29. Jason 2018-10-11

    Robin, I find it stunning that you think Native Americans are not competant enough to get an address in two years.

  30. mike from iowa 2018-10-11

    Troll is making up fantasy scenarios so he can comment som more. He likes to argue with himself because, no matter how it turns out, he always wins. Then he fancies himself a smart feller.

  31. o 2018-10-11

    Jason, “Please explain how “whites” benefit from the racism of affirmative action?”

    There it is: the litmus test of white privilege. Jason brays again that nothing is of value unless it profits the “whites.”

  32. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    Jason, I find it stunning that you would lie about what I said when it’s right there in black and white in front of us all.

  33. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    And you misspelled “competent”.

  34. OldSarg 2018-10-11

    There is no such thing as white privilege except to a racist individual. Those who identify people based upon the color of their skin, judge others based upon the color of their skin and declare advantage based upon skin color are the very definition of racist. Those very people who are calling other advantaged or racist are the racists.

  35. Jason 2018-10-11

    Robin,

    Did they have the ability to get an address in the past two years?

    The answer is yes they did.

  36. mike from iowa 2018-10-11

    There is no such thing as life or death to those who choose not to believe or watch Fake Noize, like trolls. If it suited your purpose, OldScreamin’meemees, you’d deny being human or white or a Fake Noize junky.

  37. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    Jason, the answer is they decided to take it to the courts, which is their prerogative. You’d have to ask them why they chose that course but I propose that many citizens would think that to be a likely choice.

    “The issue has been lingering since the 2017 state Legislature approved a change in the voting law.

    Originally, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland of Bismarck ruled in the case that the state must accept IDs and supplemental documentation with a current mailing address, which allowed the post office box to be used.

    However, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 granted a stay on that decision, which was then appealed to the nation’s highest court.

    In the Tuesday ruling, the Supreme Court then upheld the stay, rejecting the emergency appeal by attorneys representing a group of Native Americans in the state challenging North Dakota’s voter ID law.

    Justice Neil Gorsuch was responsible for the appeal and a majority opinion on why the North Dakota law should stand for now wasn’t written by the high court. It was also noted that Judge Brett Kavanaugh didn’t participate in the decision.

    However, two justices, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented.

    Ginsburg, in writing the dissent, said the decision could result in “voter confusion” and an “incentive to remain away from the polls.”

    “The risk of voter confusion appears severe here because the injunction against requiring residential address identification was in force during the primary election and because the Secretary of State’s website announced for months the ID requirements” as they previously existed.

    Ginsburg noted that the appeals court said voters have a month to “adapt” to the new requirement.

    However, she wrote that Hovland in his ruling said that 70,000 state residents lack a qualifying ID and about 18,000 residents also lack supplemental documentation sufficient to permit them to vote.

    Ginsburg then re-emphasized that the decision could result in “the all too real risk of grand-scale voter confusion.”

    The Native American Rights Fund, which represented the tribal members, said in an earlier release in appealing to the Supreme Court that “several thousand will be unable to vote in this year’s election simply because they do not have a residential address or because they lack the documentation and/or funds to obtain the required voter identification.”

    However, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said in an phone interview Tuesday that he was pleased with the decision.”

    FROM the Grand Forks article that Mike posted, above.

  38. OldSarg 2018-10-11

    The issue of no addresses on Native lands has been an issue for years and years. It is not just North Dakota. It is a problem in South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada and Montana as well. It is not a cultural value to not have an address it is simply ignoring a problem and not wanting to spend the money to do it. Even the Navajo Nation had this problem and guess what they did? They got addresses. That was all there was to it. It named the streets and roads, put up signs and assigned number and names to the places. The problem can be solved and would remove one more arrow from the quiver of the racist leftist because they don’t want to fix anything. They only want to destroy everything they can. Simple problem, simple fix.

  39. mike from iowa 2018-10-11

    Residency and Mailing Address Requirements

    Some states had previously required registrants to live in a “traditional dwelling” in order to register to vote. Judicial decisions in court cases and the enactment of state and federal laws have eliminated that requirement. Today, homeless individuals in all states–including those people who are living on the streets–have the right to register and vote. When registering to vote, homeless voters only need to designate their place of residence, which can be a street corner, a park, a shelter, or any other location where an individual stays at night. Designation of a residential address or location of residence is required to ensure the voter lives within the district in which she/he wishes to register and to assign the voter to the appropriate polling location. Usually, the location of a residence may be indicated by drawing a map or by providing a general descriptive location, if not the address of a shelter.

    Don’t let the un-concerned trolls fool you, they are all about tossing people off voter rolls- you know wingnut holy grail- voter suppression. And all red run states practice it to varying degrees and they conspire with one another to ensure the latest cheap tactics to get wingnuts to win are passed along.

  40. Jason 2018-10-11

    Robin,

    Please explain to us why you think Kayne is wrong?

    “A liberal will try to control a black person through the concept of racism because they know that we are very proud emotional people,” West said. “You think racism can control me? That don’t stop me, that’s an invisible wall.”

  41. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    I think nothing of Kanye, Jason, I hear DJT has him in the Oval Office, I can’t imagine why, but that is of no import to me. Neither is Kanye.

  42. Jason 2018-10-11

    I didn’t ask what you thought of him. I asked you to respond to what he said. It seems you have reading comprehension problems.

  43. jerry 2018-10-11

    Kanye praising the Rocket Man with trump approving was only missing one thing, Gary Busey or Meatloaf to make it even more surreal.

  44. Robin Friday 2018-10-11

    And Jason, you’re only interested in insulting, in which I’m also not the least bit interested. If I choose to take no interest in Kanye or what he supposedly said, that’s my business, that’s my decision, which I will make for myself.

  45. Jason 2018-10-12

    I don’t expect racists like you Robin to own up to your words and actions. I’m not insulting you, I’m just stating a fact.

  46. Darin Larson 2018-10-12

    Don’t feed the trolls!

  47. Mary Martha Winston 2018-10-15

    I get the need to fight in court. But in a quick run around why can’t you get reservation residents to the UPS store and set up a street address/post office box. This may cost a bit but funds can be found.

  48. Dianne 2018-10-16

    Could every tribal member have a GPS address. such as GPS as street number and direction from nearest names road. example GPS coordinate N.E. 2.8 mi of Canyon road. can GPS be found from satellite images? Everyone should be able to vote in America. I am so embarrassed for Republican who feel so free to be such blatant voter suppressors. This is such another sad day for our failing democracy.

  49. Adell Mckinney 2018-10-17

    I think that by making regular United States physical addresses may be a mistake for the Native American nation I am saying this not knowing but just thinking why are they doing this and I’m wondering if anybody has take this out once you make an american address on a Native American soil does that still Levy Native American soil or does that make it a part of the cooperation that is the United States

  50. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-18

    Such esoteric concerns are less important than the immediate practical concern of making sure every citizen, Native or not, can vote.

  51. Jason 2018-10-18

    They have had years to get done what they needed to do to vote Cory.

    It’s not rocket science.

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