Voter Suppression

One Person, No Vote: How Gerrymandering Will Steal Our Elections if We Don’t Stop It

(Source)   “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats… I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats… so I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” This is an actual, real-life statement made by Representative David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly’s redistricting committee. And it wasn’t made at a political fundraiser or at a campaign rally—it was made at an official meeting of the North Carolina state legislature, a body that purports to put the voices of its constituents above its own partisan goals. Even more alarming than the statement itself is the fact that Representative David Lewis and his colleagues were able to do exactly what he proposed, and with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court. You may be thinking that Lewis’s statement is disturbing but that we have more important and urgent things to worry about—after all, we are only days away from the November election, and we need to focus all of our energies on getting our friends and family to turn out to vote. If we can do that, then the [read more]

From Smallpox Blankets to COVID Ballots: Understanding the Pandemic as a Fundamental Threat to Native American Voters

(Source) Introduction At 5 million positive cases, COVID-19 continues to devastate people across the United States. Due to pre-existing social inequalities, communities of color remain the hardest hit. Among these communities, Native Americans are contracting and dying from the virus at unmatched rates. Federal, state, and local action to mitigate the spread throughout Indian Country has been slow and fallen short of expectations. For example, when the Seattle Indian Health Board expressed an urgent need for testing and medical supplies, the local King County Public Health Department’s shocking response was to send body bags and toe tags. Horrifying? Yes. Far from sensible? Not if you look at death rates for states with sizable tribal communities. Consider the case of New Mexico. While Native Americans make up 10% of the state’s population, as of May, tribal members make up 50% of local COVID-related deaths. As the country prepares for the November presidential election, all eyes should be on the federal government and the steps, or lack thereof, that the Trump administration has taken to ensure a healthy and safe election season. Historical Suppression & Contemporary Barriers Native American voters have long been disenfranchised and excluded from local, state, and federal elections. [read more]