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Voting campaign aimed at tribal voters
11 October 2004
by Brian Eagle

BISMARCK, ND - Students in the tribal management vocation are involved in helping to "get out the vote" in tribal areas of North Dakota for the general election on November 2. The statewide effort is coordinated at United Tribes Technical College.

      UTTC was awarded a $53-thousand grant through the Help America Vote Act. Over the summer, the college had already begun organizing and implementing a plan to reach tribal voters on the state's five reservations.

Voter Bill of Rights

      Recently the effort received a boost with the help of UTTC students who are involved in student government and the college's tribal management vocation.

      Coordinating the project is Tribal Management Instructor Bobbi Jo Zueger. Margaret Stevens is Youth Coordinator and liaison to Spirit Lake. Sara Iron Lightening coordinates with Turtle Mountain, Nelson Ute with Sisseton-Wahpeton, and Terrance Medicine Crow with Standing Rock. Zueger coordinates with Three Affiliated.

      "It's very important for Native voters to participate in this election," said Zueger. "We need to voice our concerns through the ballot box in dealing with the government about their obligations to tribes and tribal people."

      Students have been distributing voting literature containing important information for Native voters. An effort to get people to sign pledges to vote on November 2, was conducted during the United Tribes International Powwow. All of the efforts are aimed at reaching tribal people with help, encouragement and reminders about voicing their concerns through the ballot on election day.

      The big thing for voters to remember is to be prepared to show a form of identification that verifies their place of residence when they go to the polls, said Zueger.

      Acceptable forms of ID showing a residential address include a valid drivers license, valid tribal enrollment ID card, valid student ID card, valid US Military ID card, valid Federal ID such as a passport or agency ID card, valid state ID card, a utility bill dated 30 days prior with name and address, or a change of address letter from US Postal Service. Even if you have none of the ID listed above, you still have the right to vote, said Zueger.

      The North Dakota voter effort, known as the North Dakota Tribal Voter Initiative Project is part of a larger project known as the Northern Plains Tribal Voter Initiative.

      For more information contact Bobbi Jo Zueger, Coordinator and Margaret Stevens, Youth coordinator, bzueger@uttc.edu or 701-255-3285 x 1257.


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