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Sun Sep 27, 2020, 12:38 PM

Tribes see ballot collection as a lifeline in Indian Country

Source: Associated Press

Tribes see ballot collection as a lifeline in Indian Country

By SAM METZ
September 27, 2020

NIXON, Nev. (AP) ó Many older people living on the expansive Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation in northern Nevada relied on the tribeís senior services van to get to the grocery store or the doctor before the coronavirus pandemic ended that option.

Now, tribal officials worry how elders and others who donít have cars or canít travel on their own will get to the post office to return their ballots before Election Day.

ďThe distance has been a barrier for our people to vote,Ē tribal council member Janet Davis said outside the small, wood-shingle post office in the town of Nixon, not far from the turquoise lake that gives the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe its name. ďWe have elders that might not be able to move around much, those that might be afraid of the pandemic, people who are disabled and people that donít have transportation.Ē

To make voting easier, a new Nevada law allows residents to fill out their ballots and let someone else return them on their behalf ó a neighbor, tribal official or political volunteer. To Davis and other tribal officials, itís not unlike the way people on far-flung reservations help each other run errands.

Tribes see ballot collection as a critical way to boost historically low Native American turnout. They are targeting bans on the practice in several states, including Arizona and Montana, as more states move to mail-in voting during the pandemic. Itís become a flashpoint in a rancorous election year, with President Donald Trump claiming without evidence that it will lead to fraud.

-snip-


Read more: https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-election-2020-elections-voting-2020-nevada-2571c97dd6743d4ca6c5b215a7b014bb

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