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North Dakota GOP Secretary of State Forgets About Native Students

By Scarlet Raven

Imagine this, the GOP Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, distributed a letter to North Dakota Universities and advised them of best practice of voting when they live in a dormitory.  Can you say, "voter suppression"??

In his letter, he states:

A college student has the choice of voting in the precinct associated with her or her North Dakota home residential address or he or she may vote in the precinct of the residential address the student has while attending college.
Further it state for Out-of-State students attending college that they may cast their ballot in North Dakota or the student may cast an absentee ballot in their home State.

This was all great information for college students but what was Secretary of State Jaeger did NOT provide this Sample letter to the 2,500-2,600 Native American students attending Tribal colleges across the State of North Dakota.  When this was brought to his attention and a request to his office to provide this letter to the Tribal colleges, Jaeger’s Deputy stated “they would do better in the next election cycle”.

Knowing what we know about Native American voting Democrat in an over 80% National average, it is not surprising that the North Dakota Secretary of State would want to wait until the next election cycle before sending information for Native American students to vote.  The United States Senate race is razor thin between GOP Congressman Rick "Abortion is a Felony" Berg and Democrat Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp.  This race and the US Senate majority could be decided by less than 1,000 votes either way, why give the Native American students an opportunity to vote and perhaps swing the race to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp?

Here’s a copy of the Press Release the North Dakota Democratic Party issued about their request to Secretary of State Jaeger and their request he send the Student Voter Information letter to the Tribal Colleges of North Dakota:

North Dakota Dem-NPL Demands
Sec. of State to Treat Tribal Colleges Fairly

Bismarck, ND—The North dakota Democratic-NPL Party discovered that the North Dakota Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, distributed a letter to North Dakota universities, advising students on best practices of voting when they live in a dormitory (attached).

Secretary Jaeger failed to release the same letter and information to Tribal Colleges across the state. A letter was sent to Jaeger, urging him to extend the same courtesy the Native American student population, and rather than rectify this gross oversight, Jaegar's Deputy stated they would do better during the next election cycle.

The North Dakota Democratic-NPL released the following statement from Communications Director, Rania Batrice after Sec. Jaeger's failure to act:
"It's shameful that Sec. Jaeger would overlook our Tribal Colleges, when for too long Native Americans were denied the basic right to vote. Sec. Jaeger should immediately fix his mistake and ensure that Tribal students receive his letter in order to ensure that ALL student voices are heard."

###

It is important to get the word out to all Native Americans in North Dakota, especially the students who may not know their rights for voting in North Dakota.   Please share this diary entry and have them refer to Secretary of State Jaeger’s letter here:

http://www.scribd.com/...

Please get the word out and make sure all North Dakota students know their rights and push the State of North Dakota to be inclusive of ALL students, not just the ones they want to vote!

UPDATE:

Native American student made a formal request to GOP North Dakota Secretary of State to not overlook Native American students attending Tribal Colleges in future elections:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rania Batrice
701-220-2261

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Member Calls on ND Sec. of State to Rectify Overlooking Native Community

Bismarck, ND—During a press conference outside of the Secretary of State’s office this morning, Rania Batrice, Communications Director for the Dem-NPL, and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Courtney Garza released the statements below.

Following the press conference, Garza submitted a letter to Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, urging him to distribute the voting information letter he released to college students across North Dakota in mid-October (letter attached).

Statement from Rania Batrice:
Today I'm here to introduce Courtney Garza.

The reason we are here is that it came to our attention that the North Dakota Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, distributed a letter to North Dakota universities, advising students on best practices of voting when they live in a dormitory. But the problem is that Sec. Jaeger declined to extend the same courtesy to the Native American student population at the tribal colleges here in North Dakota. So today, I'm here to introduce Courtney Garza, a student who has attended Sitting Bull College and is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Statement from Courtney Garza:
Thank you. I am here today to deliver a letter to Secretary Jaeger asking that he fix his mistake, and ensure that all our tribal students receive the same letter that was sent to other North Dakota college students in mid-October. This letter explained how in-state and out-of-state students can legally vote in North Dakota and where, and also served as acceptable evidence of established residency for each student. It's shameful that Secretary Jaeger would overlook our Tribal Colleges and students when for far too long, Native Americans were denied the basic right to vote. All college students here in North Dakota should be encouraged to vote, not just some of them. The Secretary of State has had time to fix this mistake, and make sure that the over 2,500 tribal students around North Dakota are treated the same as other students. Secretary Jaeger should immediately fix his mistake and ensure that Tribal students receive his letter in order to ensure that ALL student voices are heard. Today I will deliver a letter to Secretary Jaeger asking him to fix his oversight and make sure our tribal students get the same letter that all other North Dakota college students received.

Attached:
Audio from press conference
Letter from Courtney Garza to Sec. Jaeger

I know that a lot of so-called progressives did not see this as a huge deal, but when we examine the razor thin margin that Senator elect Heidi Heitkamp won by, you can see that if Tribes and Natives in the State had not supported her effort, we would of seen GOP Congressman Rick Berg as the new Senator for North Dakota bringing his views on women and his lack of a track record in 2-years in Congress helping Native Americans or having a Native American on his staff.

Here's a copy of Courtney's letter, which was unanswered before the election:

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Dear Secretary Jaeger,

I am writing to you today to express my disappointment in your decision not to include Tribal colleges when you dispersed a letter to college campuses with suggestions and best practices of voting for college students, living in dormitories.

As a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, I am offended by your omission, especially when, for far too long, Native Americans were denied the basic right to
vote.

My understanding is that your office has received multiple phone calls asking you to rectify the situation, and you have failed to do so.  Your continued failure to address this issue is insulting.  I am asking you today, to do the right thingand ensure that this letter is sent to Tribal College campuses immediately.

I look forward to a prompt response.

Thank you,

Courtney Garza

We need to make sure all voters are aware of rules, regulations and their votes are counted in all future elections.

Theron “Scarlet Raven” Thompson is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota Sioux) of the Lake Traverse Reservation.  He publishes articles on Tribal Issues, Energy, Economic Development, Business, Gaming, and Marketing.  He can be reached at theron@scarletraven.com and his blog is www.scarletravenpowwow.blogspot.com

Originally posted to scarletraven on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 11:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Native American Netroots, Okiciyap (we help), Invisible People, Barriers and Bridges, and Pink Clubhouse.

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