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Native Vote 2012 Gets Two Sessions – Plus A Party! – At NCAI’s 68th Annual Convention

PORTLAND, Ore. – Halloween is a not-to-be-wasted opportunity when it comes to reaching youth.

And with a record number of young people turning out for this year’s National Congress of American Indian’s 68th Annual Convention what better way to get the Native vote out to American Indian and Alaska Native youth than to pitch it with entry to an, “It’s Scary If You Don’t Vote,” Halloween party?

NCAI’s tribal leadership used the occasion to take full advantage, offering bumper stickers, “NATIVE VOTE 2012 – Every Vote Counts,” and a chest full of Halloween costume finery to immortalize in photographs to mark the occasion.

Statistics show 50 percent of tribal members are youth 25 years of age or younger, Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache, broadcast journalist, and NCAI’s Youth Council Advisor said. Native Vote is an NCAI initiative and part of a national non-partisan effort to mobilize the American Indian and Alaska Native vote.

In spite of a well-organized effort to get out the vote in the 2008 elections that swept President Obama into office, about 34 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives were still not registered to vote.

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Breakout sessions, ‘Making Washington Work for Tribes: Native Vote 2012,’ and ‘Becoming the Next Representative’ were held the following days of the weeklong convention that ends November 4.

“Your Native vote is an important opportunity to take a stand for Indian country by supporting leaders who make our sovereignty a priority and help strengthen tribal communities,” said Jefferson Keel, NCAI president.

“Native Vote 2010 is an NCAI-initiated nonpartisan campaign meant to encourage Native people to exercise their right to vote. It works closely with regional organizations, tribal governments, and urban Indian centers to create a strong, permanent infrastructure for election training that highlights voter registration, election protection policies, and Native mobilization,” notes NCAI. “With the heightened political participation of Native people Indian country is becoming an increasingly powerful voting bloc.”

The website offers the resources to help get out the vote in Indian country. Along with forms, news updates, and down-loadable resources, users can also create a profile and connect with other Native Vote organizers throughout the country.

Join the Native Vote Network. Check out their organizing resources page, download their tool kit, volunteer with Native Vote, and have your tribe submit Native Vote Coordinator and Election Protection Coordinator contact information.

Related story: Post Office Closings Threaten Native Voting Rights