Arizona Advocates Expand Resources to Support Native American Voters

PHOENIX— The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Arizona State University’s Indian Legal Clinic, and All Voting is Local Arizona are distributing voter safety kits to thousands of Native Americans throughout the state as part of an educational campaign on early voting options. The coalition also announced the nonpartisan Native Vote hotline is available in Apache, Hopi, and Navajo, as well as English. 

The kits include gloves, masks, pens, hand sanitizer, and educational brochures to provide information on voting safely and securely. 

In addition to facing long-standing barriers to the ballot, Native Americans have also been disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has halted much of the outreach and voter education efforts for Tribes that usually take place during election season, such as door-to-door canvassing, as well as tabling at community events and early voting locations. 

“As Native Americans throughout the state grapple with the devastation and loss of the COVID-19 crisis, we need to share voting information so that citizens know their options, and no one has to choose between their right to vote and their health,” said Rosemary Avila, All Voting is Local Arizona campaign manager. “With the kits and the hotline, we can help Native American voters get excited about making their voices heard and voting as early and safely as possible.” 

More than 7,000 voter safety kits are being  distributed by Tribal governments, through food banks, by request through the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona’s website, and at community events. The kits will also be available to those who either cannot vote early or who chose to vote in-person on Election Day. 

The Native Vote hotline can be reached by calling 1-888-777-3831. Callers choose from among four languages and are then connected with volunteers. Callers are encouraged to ask questions about voting locations, identification requirements, election laws, and more. 

“Amid the pandemic, abundant misinformation, and changes to our election processes this year, Native American voters may be feeling confused or concerned about casting their ballots” said Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, director of the ASU Indian Legal Clinic. “We’re telling voters: You are not in this alone. We’re here to help you figure out this process and protect your rights.”