Phoenix Area Tribes Work To Increase Voter Participation

By Carrie Jung
Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 4:06pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 4:32pm
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(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community recently wrapped up one of its last voter registration drives before the general election. It’s one of several efforts being held around the state to increase Native American voter participation.

Tuesday’s drive resulted in the addition of 17 new voters within the tribe’s precinct. For the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian community, this is a monthly event. Since launching in February, they’ve convinced more than 60 people to register.

Angela Willeford, is an intergovernmental relations project manager with the tribe. She said drives like these are meant to highlight importance of voting.

"Historically, Native American’s weren’t given the right to vote," Willeford explains. "So that’s something that I stress which is so important to Native Americans that our ancestors were not able to vote, but we as Native Americans today can. So we need to make sure that our voice is heard loud and clear."

According to the Justice Department, Native American voter participation lags behind non-native participation by about 15-20 percent nationwide.

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