State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Native Americans

To Vote or Die: How the Indigenous Peoples of Alaska Fought an Impossible Choice

By Sayo Ayeomoni and Cameron Newton

When a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that cloaks the world in uncertainty, upends the financial status of millions, and causes the death of roughly 239,000 Americans reaches an election cycle, it becomes a given that practices created for and enforced in times of normalcy be adapted for such extreme circumstances. Given that voting procedures are developed on a state-by-state basis, fifty different approaches to voting in a pandemic have necessarily been developed. Since thirty-four states are allowing voters to obtain an absentee ballot either due to coronavirus-related fears or without providing an excuse, rules about how those absentee ballots are filled out have naturally come into question. In Alaska, those questions have emerged with great focus centered on the Indigenous peoples who make up 15.6% of the state’s population.

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The Demise of North Dakota’s Voter Identification Law

In one sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are lax as North Dakota is the only state without voter registration requirements.  In another sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are anything but lax as a federal district court recently found North Dakota’s voter identification law (also referred to as “HB 1332”) to be unduly burdensome.

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