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Showing posts from August, 2014

The Missing Native Vote

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It was mid-April 2014, and Montana was gearing up for the first round in this year’s mid-term elections. The primaries would get underway in Big Sky country on May 5, with thirty days of advance voting by absentee ballot—by mail or by delivering a ballot in person to county courthouses—leading up to Primary Day on June 3. If people hadn’t registered, they could head to the courthouse to do so. 
But for Ed “Buster” Moore, from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north-central Montana, it wasn’t so simple. To cast a ballot during the absentee-voting period, he would have to make a 126-mile round trip to the nearest courthouse, in Chinook. That’s about $21 worth of gas, not to mention the income that Moore, an artisan, would lose from taking time off from his work making hand drums, rawhide bags and other items that he sells in his community and on the Internet. A diabetic, he’d have to buy lunch on the road. Those expenses add up. 
“If I had to vote right now, I couldn’t afford it—not …