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Rob Port <rob@sayanythingblog.

com>

ADVISORY: Committee on House Administration Elections Subcommittee to hold


Standing Rock Sioux Reservation Field Hearing on Voting Rights and Election
Administration
Whippy, Peter <Peter.Whippy@mail.house.gov> Tue, Apr 9, 2019 at 2:07 PM
To: "Whippy, Peter" <Peter.Whippy@mail.house.gov>

MEDIA ADVISORY

U S H R
C H A
S E

For Planning Purposes:

April 9, 2019

CONTACT:

Peter Whippy - 202-225-7043

Committee on House Administration Elections


Subcommittee to hold Standing Rock Sioux Reservation
Field Hearing on Voting Rights and Election Administration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, April 16 at 10:00 am, the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House
Administration will hold a Field Hearing on Voting Rights and Election Administration in Fort Yates, North Dakota on the
Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

WHAT: Committee on House Administration Elections Subcommittee


Field Hearing on Voting Rights and Elections Administration

WHO:

CHA Elections Subcommittee


U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), Chair

U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)

Witnesses:

Panel:

Jacqueline De Leon, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund

Prairie Rose Seminole, Community Organizer, North Dakota Native Vote

Additional witnesses to be announced

Panel:

OJ Semans, Sr., Co-Executive Director, Four Directions

Additional witnesses to be announced

Also Invited:

Representatives from the:

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

The Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation

The Spirit Lake Nation

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation

WHEN:

10:00 am (Central)

Tuesday, April 16

WHERE:

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council

Bldg. #1 North Standing Rock Ave.

Fort Yates, ND 58538

Media RSVP to peter.whippy@mail.house.gov

Background:
The Committee on House Administration Elections Subcommittee will hold a field hearing in North Dakota, covering North
Dakota and South Dakota, considering several troubling developments surrounding the franchise and access to the
franchise in the Dakotas. The field hearing is responsive to concerns raised regarding voter ID laws with disparate
impacts, voter suppression, difficulties in election administration, and challenges that are uniquely faced by the Native
American community in attempting to vote and voting. Panels will address the challenges faced by each state distinctly.

Following the 2012 elections, the North Dakota legislature, with neither hearings nor debate on the bill’s final text, passed
a restrictive voter ID law. Significantly, this law had a requirement that voter IDs must contain the voter’s residential
address, and expressly excluded P.O. Box numbers as an acceptable form of address. According to the Native American
Rights Fund, this law disproportionately impacted Native American voters because “most tribal IDs do not have a
residential address printed on them. This is due, in part, to the fact that the U.S. postal service does not provide
residential delivery in these rural Indian communities. Thus, most tribal members use a P.O. Box.” Furthermore, Native
Americans as a group are disproportionately homeless, or have inconsistent addresses, which makes identifying a single
consistent address for a valid voter ID challenging.

Following a preliminary injunction of the original law, in 2017, North Dakota enacted a new voter ID law, also with a
residential address requirement. Notably, following implementation of this law, there remains not a single Drivers License
Site on an Indian reservation in North Dakota. Advocates made a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to effectively
stop the discriminatory voter ID law from impacting the 2018 federal elections, but the Supreme Court declined to
intervene. In her dissent to that decision in Brakebill v. Jaeger Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg highlighted the facts that
make compliance with the new voter ID law difficult for many North Dakotans: “(1) 70,000 North Dakota residents –
almost 20% of the turnout in a regular quadrennial election – lack a qualifying ID; and (2) approximately 18,000 North
Dakota residents also lack supplemental documentation sufficient to permit them to vote without a qualifying ID.”

South Dakota has been similarly plagued by issues with enfranchisement of Native Americans. Of States in Indian
Country, South Dakota has been sued more than any other state for voting rights violations. In 2007, the ACLU noted that
“of seven lawsuits brought in federal court since 1999 on behalf of Native American voters in South Dakota […] to date,
all seven of these cases have been resolved in favor of the Native American plaintiffs.” A Native American Voting Rights
Coalition survey of challenges facing Native American voters noted specific incidences of attempts to intimidate or
otherwise disrespect prospective Native American voters, captured discriminatory attitudes among election officials, and
found that local county governments in South Dakota “remain stubborn, if not outright hostile, to Native American voting
equality.” In one case, at the Crow Creek Reservation, a middle-aged woman recounted how Hyde County officials
refused to open a polling place on the reservation. Instead they opened one just outside of the reservation boundary in a
chicken coop.

Congress has the power and responsibility to ensure that every American can exercise their franchise. Accordingly, the
Committee on House Administration Elections Subcommittee is hosting this and subsequent hearings to develop a
contemporaneous record of ongoing voter discrimination.

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