Court Strikes Down ND Law that Restricted Native American Voting Rights; Other News

With the presidential election getting ever closer, time to look at efforts to restrict the voting rights of Native Americans and other people of color.

North Dakota had the strictest voter ID law in the country, according to the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). In order to vote, the law required North Dakota residents to show one of four types of IDs. According to a NARF media release:

On August 1, 2016, a federal district court enjoined North Dakota’s strict voter ID law and ruled that voters unable to obtain the necessary identification may vote in the upcoming election by completing a declaration or affidavit. The court agreed with the seven Native American voters that the new law disproportionately burdens Native Americans and denies qualified voters the right to vote.

The release continued:

Federal Judge Daniel Hovland wrote, “[t]he record is replete with concrete evidence of significant burdens imposed on Native American voters attempting to exercise their right to vote in North Dakota.” Although the state argued that the law was necessary to prevent voter fraud, the court found that there “is a total lack of any evidence to show voter fraud has ever been a problem in North Dakota.”

Tactics to suppress voting by people of color are becoming more common. The New York Times just ran a piece headlined: Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls. It led with a disturbing anecdote from Hancock County, Georgia.

The majority-white Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration was systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180 black Sparta citizens — a fifth of the city’s registered voters — by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights.

Latest Story on Capitol Art

The website Hyperallergic, a national forum “for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today” just ran a piece on Minnesota State Capitol Art. It was headlined: Imagining Alternatives to the Racist Paintings in Minnesota’s State Capitol.

The article highlights the current art show called “Reframe Minnesota: Art Beyond a Single Story,” a joint display at All My Relations Gallery and neighboring Two Rivers Gallery in Minneapolis. The exhibit offers alternative visions of Capitol art by professionals arts and students.

The article also critiques the actions of the state, which so far seems unwilling to consider removing offensive and racist historic art from the Capitol. The article reads:

To preserve the narrative of white supremacy in the seat of democracy in a state reeling from the pain of the killing of Philando Castile by a police officer during a routine traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb, feels entirely political; problematic at best, dangerous at worst.

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