REPORT: Native Americans in AZ try to boost turnout: ‘Our ancestors couldn’t vote, but we can’

BY KAT SHEPHERD / JUNE 12, 2018 /

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Red mountains rise from the desert stillness. As a paved road breaks off, tribal government buildings emerge. Inside one, Angela Willeford works on voter guides, registration drives and “I voted!” stickers.

“We’re being honest with our voters, saying, ‘We need you to vote,’” said Willeford, special assistant to the president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, just east of Scottsdale. “Our ancestors couldn’t vote, but we can.”

Arizona is a battleground in this year’s midterm election, with lots of money flowing into the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. The state is home to the nation’s third-largest Native American population — a group that grew by 11%, to 371,605 people, from 2010 to 2016, according to census figures on those who claim only Native American ancestry.

The article goes on to state the following:

It is not immediately clear who would benefit the most from an uptick in Native American voting.

About 30% of American Indians nationwide say they are Democrats and 23% Republicans, according to a 2017 poll conducted by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. But 30% identify as independents, throwing a wild card into the mix.

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