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Native Voters Shaped the 2020 Election. What's Next?

Allie Young led a “get out the vote” campaign on horseback across the Navajo Nation, which spans across the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Allie Young led a “get out the vote” campaign on horseback across the Navajo Nation, which spans across the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Since the pandemic first began, Native American communities have been some of the hardest hit in the country. With recent data showing over 12,000 infections and 574 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, the Navajo Nation has a higher per-capita death rate than any state in the country. Meanwhile, a court decision ruled against providing additional time for the tribal nation to count mail-in ballots in the weeks before the general election.

But despite the coronavirus and difficult voting conditions, the 2020 election saw record turnout by Indigenous voters in battleground states like Arizona and Wisconsin. That’s due in part to the efforts of voting rights advocates like Allie Young, who led citizens of the Navajo Nation across tribal lands to the voting polls… on horseback.
Now, Native people and voting rights advocates are pointing towards voters in the Navajo Nation that helped flip Arizona for Joe Biden. And after an election that saw multiple wins for Native candidates, they say it’s time for them to be heard by the incoming Biden administration.

Find our 2019 conversation with Indigenous lawmakers Sharice Davids of Kansas and Peggy Flanagan of Minnesota here.

If you’re an Indigenous voter, what motivated you to go to the polls? How would you like to see the Biden administration work with Native communities?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.