Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Ensure Election Changes are Accessible for Native American Communities
PHOENIX – All Voting is Local – Arizona and Arizona Advocacy Network released the following joint statement in response to Arizona SB1077—a bill that would move the state to all mail voting. The groups urged state lawmakers to consult Native American leaders before approving such a significant change to how Arizonans cast their ballots.
“All Voting is Local and Arizona Advocacy Network urge Governor Doug Ducey, lawmakers, and election officials against adopting any measure that would further restrict access to the ballot for Arizona’s Native American communities.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a rushed decision on this matter, without proper consideration of Native American communities, these efforts can lead to unnecessary and increased barriers to voting. Native American Arizonans face troubling barriers to casting a ballot by mail: while nearly 75 percent of Arizonans vote by mail, it is estimated that only 26 percent of Native Americans in Arizona have a U.S. Postal Service address. In addition, access to in-person translators are essential for some Native American voters, such as speakers of Navajo or Apache which are traditionally oral languages. These concerns need to be addressed when considering changes to voting operations, so that our democracy is free, fair and accessible to all—especially in times of crisis.
“We support the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and Arizona’s Sovereign Tribal Governments in their efforts to ensure that voting rights are protected for all.”