Native Voting in Becker County New Challenges … New solutions
Take a bus to the polls?
The next two weeks, Honor the Earth is offering to bus people from throughout Becker, Clearwater and Mahnomen County on a “Rez Uber” to register new voters and get them to the polls. Driver John Shimek has just voted for the first time, and notes that there are probably 400 plus new potential voters on the reservation- people who have just become 18, since the last election and probably another thousand people who may need a ride to the polls.
The bus, donated by a California businessman, has made it to the Superbowl, and a number of regulatory hearings on Line 3, and now, if you call can bring voters to the polls.
The majority of polls on the White Earth reservation, which would serve the tribal community and villages will not be open. That’s to say that there is no where to vote in person in the towns of White Earth, Ogema and Callaway- three of the largest tribal villages on the reservation. Pine Point residents can still opt to vote in the Pine Point township hall- about three miles out of town on election day- and the bus will be available to make that run. However, most tribal voters on White Earth will be challenged this year, with fewer polling places, must go to the Becker County Court house to vote.
Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson, rode with John Shimek, Lorna Hanes and two young men to vote this past week. They found confusion at the Court house. The County Recorders office noting that the data base did not correspond with the address, since it was a 4-digit code not a 5-digit code number address.
“We kept saying the address is legitimate and it’s correct ... she kept saying it isn’t in our database showing it’s a physical address and that MN addresses are 5-digits not 4-digits ... I said well your system is incorrect and please check again cause it shows up on google maps and google earth as an address. I said I can assure you it’s accurate. His ID was issued by tribal government; a sovereign government that’s recognized. “There was a long exchange between the hopeful voters and the county officials, and then, “finally a coworker in the back county office verified the address …and the young man was registered to vote …”
Antoine Jones, Pine Point and his friend of White Earth currently residing in Detroit Lakes waiting for his Tribal ID to be issued rocked the native vote!
So, despite some snarls along the way, potential, new and old voters can walk into Becker County Court House any day from now until November 5th at the County Election Offices to register and vote absentee early.
If you want a ride to the polls, Honor the Earth will do it’s best to provide Rez Uber service in the counties of Becker, Mahnomen, and Clearwater.
Schedule Hours will be 10AM-2PM
Pine Point Starts Oct. 17th (Mon + Wed)
Rice Lake Starts Oct. 18th (Tues + Thurs)
County Offices are Open Sat. Nov. 3rd before Election Day to Vote Early.
We will visit facilities, nursing homes, community centers, or residential if you call us to schedule it. We all have the right and opportunity to ride the Rez Uber and vote.
FRIDAYS IS CALL-IN SCHEDULE
CLEARWATER COUNTY IS CALL IN FOR SCHEDULE
We will be offering the Rez Uber up until Election Day, Nov. 6th.
Text or Call (218) 616-0984