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News Release

Western Native Voice 

In response to the 2021 legislative session same-day voter registration elimination, Western Native Voice is taking action by installing online voter registration (OVR) portals around the state to increase voter registration. Last year, the Montana Legislature passed a bill to end same day voter registration. During the 2020 election season when the pandemic had everything at a standstill, Western Native Voice and other Montana non-partisan organizations came together to create an online voter registration portal to give people an option to safely register to vote during the pandemic. Using this online platform, Western Native Voice is taking it one step further by working with tribal communities both rural and urban across the state. They hope to get voter registration kiosks in tribal offices, clinics, colleges, stores, or anywhere people would normally frequent.

“With legislation getting rid of same-day voter registration and the pandemic still lingering, 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 and being in those places where they already frequent,” said Ta’jin Perez, Deputy Director of Western Native Voice.

The kiosk is just a first step in the registration process. After the applicant fills out the application on the online voter registration kiosk, Western Native Voice sends the applicant a partially completed application in the mail and they are responsible to sign, provide ID and mail the completed form. Currently, Western Native Voice has installed four voter registration kiosks in Tribal communities. The Fort Peck Tribes welcomed three online voter registration kiosks, one in the lobby of the Fort Peck Tribal headquarters in Poplar and two on the Fort Peck Community College campuses in Poplar and Wolf Point.. The other kiosk is located in the lobby of the All Nations Health Clinic in Missoula.

“Western Native Voice is focused on providing services for people living in rural areas with limited access and in urban areas where people do business or get healthcare. By placing these voter registration portals in key locations, we hope that it will make it easier for people to register to vote by meeting them where they are,” said Ronnie Jo Horse, the Executive Director of Western Native Voice.

Perez will be at the Helena Indian Alliance Center on Tuesday, January 25th installing and training staff on the new voter registration portal that will be in the lobby of the clinic. Western Native Voice hopes to install as many as two or three kiosks in each tribal community before Montana’s congressional election this fall. To use the voter registration portal online, you can go to https://westernnativevoice.org/voter-registration/.

About Western Native Voice

Western Native Voice is a non-profit, non-partisan social justice organization working to inspire Native leadership through community organizing, education, leadership, and advocacy. With 7% of Montana’s population being Native American living almost evenly split between reservation and urban areas, Western Native Voice organizes in both rural and urban communities using a culturally tailored community organizing and citizen education model to build Native leadership. 

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