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Tribal ID voting registration bill moves closer to becoming law
Tribal ID voting registration bill moves closer to becoming law
A proposal to make it easier for Indigenous people to use their tribal identification when registering to vote is advancing in the Wyoming Legislature.
A proposal to make it easier for Indigenous people to use their tribal identification when registering to vote is advancing in the Wyoming Legislature.

The bill — prompted by concerns that tribal members had difficulties registering to vote in the 2018 election — easily passed its third reading in the House of Representatives on Friday and now must go through the Senate.

If passed, the bill would make it clear that members of the Eastern Shoshone or Northern Arapaho tribes can use their tribal identification cards as the sole means of registering to vote if they contain their driver’s license number, if they have one, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

“My goal with this bill was to educate people,” said Rep. Andi Clifford, D-Fort Washakie, adding that she is “feeling pretty good about” how far the bill has advanced and its prospects moving forward.

Clifford, a Northern Arapaho tribal member, is one of the bill’s authors.

The bill’s language was passed by the state’s Select Committee on Tribal Relations before the session in August. The bill was then sponsored by the Corporations Committee.

Conversations about the use of tribal identification when registering to vote surfaced during the last election, when Clifford said she and others heard some tribal citizens were initially prevented from registering to vote because they only presented a tribal ID. While an investigation found that Fremont County officials didn’t violate any election laws and that no tribal citizens were ultimately prevented from voting, the confusion over the acceptability of tribal IDs highlighted the need for legislative action, Clifford said.

Under current state law, tribal IDs are an acceptable form of voter registration identification as long as they’re accompanied by a driver’s license or last four digits of a Social Security number.

That information, according to the state, is needed to ensure that person is eligible to vote or isn’t a convicted felon without restored voting rights.

Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter said the tribe supports the proposal. Still, along with others, he said it could go further and not include the requirement of a driver’s license number or portion of a Social Security number.
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Tribal ID voting registration bill moves closer to becoming law
Tribal ID voting registration bill moves closer to becoming law
A proposal to make it easier for Indigenous people to use their tribal identification when registering to vote is advancing in the Wyoming Legislature.
A proposal to make it easier for Indigenous people to use their tribal identification when registering to vote is advancing in the Wyoming Legislature.

The bill — prompted by concerns that tribal members had difficulties registering to vote in the 2018 election — easily passed its third reading in the House of Representatives on Friday and now must go through the Senate.

If passed, the bill would make it clear that members of the Eastern Shoshone or Northern Arapaho tribes can use their tribal identification cards as the sole means of registering to vote if they contain their driver’s license number, if they have one, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

“My goal with this bill was to educate people,” said Rep. Andi Clifford, D-Fort Washakie, adding that she is “feeling pretty good about” how far the bill has advanced and its prospects moving forward.

Clifford, a Northern Arapaho tribal member, is one of the bill’s authors.

The bill’s language was passed by the state’s Select Committee on Tribal Relations before the session in August. The bill was then sponsored by the Corporations Committee.

Conversations about the use of tribal identification when registering to vote surfaced during the last election, when Clifford said she and others heard some tribal citizens were initially prevented from registering to vote because they only presented a tribal ID. While an investigation found that Fremont County officials didn’t violate any election laws and that no tribal citizens were ultimately prevented from voting, the confusion over the acceptability of tribal IDs highlighted the need for legislative action, Clifford said.

Under current state law, tribal IDs are an acceptable form of voter registration identification as long as they’re accompanied by a driver’s license or last four digits of a Social Security number.

That information, according to the state, is needed to ensure that person is eligible to vote or isn’t a convicted felon without restored voting rights.

Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter said the tribe supports the proposal. Still, along with others, he said it could go further and not include the requirement of a driver’s license number or portion of a Social Security number.



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