Voter Education & Organizing
Our ancestors fought for our right to vote. Now, more than ever, people are using their voice to make a difference. It’s time to #WarriorUp and VOTE. Did you know that Alaska has the highest Indigenous population as a percentage of the population by any state across the United States? Together we elect people into office who will work alongside Indigenous people to protect our people and ways of life. Every Alaska Native vote counts!
One way that Native Peoples Action works to uplift the voices of our communities is through engagement in the elections process. We support pieces of legislation that will improve access to our land, water, and traditional ways of life, and ensure that all Alaskans have consistent and equitable access to the polls. We believe that voting is one real way to create change in our communities because when we vote, we are stating our values. By voting, we are fostering the inherent right of our communities to be well!
Our staff has been communicating directly with individuals and community leaders across Alaska, hearing thoughts on voting, access to polling places, and representation in government. Through these conversations, we are understanding barriers to voting in rural communities, hearing sentiments about why voting is important, and learning what policies and pieces of legislation are important to support. We are also sharing important information to help individuals engage with the voting process: who is running for office, what subsistence management boards have open positions, how to cast a ballot, etc. By ensuring that our communities have the resources they need to vote, we are ensuring that we have a say in the decisions that affect our lives.
Advocacy for Increased Access to Voting
Over the years we have worked closely with communities and individuals to hear their personal stories about voting, talking about what has worked well and what has not worked well. The more we learn, the better we can do to improve the system we have to ensure that every Alaskan has the same access to voting. We have taken this information and shared it with legislators so we can help to address voting issues and the need to increase access to voting. Some of the recommendations include:
- More robust training for poll workers should be done year-round to ensure that communities have multiple people able to be poll workers and help to train others in their communities as well.
- Raising wages for poll workers.
- Permanent absentee voting so people do not have to apply for a ballot every year – this could help take care of some of the application issues if it is not required each year.
- Pre-paid return envelope for ballots.
- Include the acceptance of Tribal IDs for voting.
- Allow ballot curing. We know mistakes can happen, but that does not mean your vote should be thrown out. There needs to be an opportunity for the voter to fix the mistake, cure their ballot, and allow it to be counted.
- Eliminate witness signature on absentee ballots.
- Accessibility for Indigenous language speakers to have access to ballots and voter information in their Native languages.
- Election/voting information that is written in an accessible manner – simplifying the language used so that there is less confusion.
quotes from community members
Using Our Voices For Change
As we continue to hear concerns and ideas from Alaskans across the state, we will continue to share information and work with our policy makers and the Division of Elections to help increase access to voting across the state. At the same time, we need to ensure that measures to decrease access and increase barriers to voting are not implemented. We continually encourage our decision makers that any changes happening to the voting process be talked about publicly and outreach is done with our Tribal leaders across the state. We encourage all Alaskans to get out to vote, make their voices heard, and speak up to help protect all our voting rights.
Native Peoples Action Community Fund (NPACF)
NPACF is Native Peoples Action’s sister organization. NPACF is dedicated to improving voter access and ensuring that all Alaskans have equitable access to voting by advocating at the state and federal levels. NPACF works to help Alaskans stay informed about how to vote, where to vote, answer questions and more. For more information, visit www.npacommunityfund.org today!