HELENA, Mont. — An organization whose work includes increasing Native American participation in elections wants to make it easier for people to register to vote after the 2021 Legislature ended Election Day registration.
Western Native Voice has begun placing voter registration kiosks in tribal offices, clinics, colleges and stores, the organization said Friday.
With the law change and the continuing pandemic, “our team began to brainstorm about how we could safely and effectively get more people registered to vote for the upcoming election without putting people in harm’s way,” said Ta’jin Perez, deputy director of Western Native Voice.
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Western Native Voice hosts a website that allows people to begin their voter registration process and the kiosks make the website accessible to those who may not have internet access.
The kiosks are just a first step in the process. Applicants fill out information on the kiosk and Western Native Voice will mail them a partially filled out application. Applicants will need to add information about their identity — such as a driver's license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number or a copy of a tribal identification card — and then sign the application.
Applicants then must mail the application to the Secretary of State's Office in the pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope provided by Western Native Voice.
Western Native Voice has installed three kiosks on the Fort Peck Reservation while another is in the lobby of All Nations Health Clinic in Missoula. The organization plans to install one at the Helena Indian Alliance Center.
Western Native Voice hopes to install two or three kiosks in each tribal community before the general election this November.
Western Native Voice is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the law ending Election Day voter registration as well as a law banning the paid collection of absentee ballots.