Programs affiliated with Native American tribes provide free IDs in North Dakota

Programs affiliated with Native American tribes provide free IDs in North Dakota
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Multiple Native American tribes in North Dakota have launched programs to provide tribal members with free ID cards ahead of the midterm elections, according to a new Associated Press report.

The Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux, Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Three Affiliated Tribes have all launched programs that have successfully given free IDs to thousands of Native Americans, the news service reported.

Together, the programs have disseminated a total of more than 2,000 IDs. 

A Supreme Court ruling earlier this month upheld North Dakota rules that require voters to provide identification with street addresses. This rule would have disenfranchised around 5,000 Native Americans who did not psossess a qualifying voter ID under state rules, the AP reported. 

Voting rights activists in the state say knowing one's address is not particularly important in Native American culture. Many tribal members in the state either don't know their home address, don't have one, or can't afford to get an updated ID.

The Lakota People's Law Project and the Four Directions nonprofit have helped to coordinate the dissemination of free IDs with proper street addresses to people who did not previously have them ahead of the November elections, the AP reported. The groups say the new Supreme Court ruling and state rules amount to voter suppression of Native people.

"We're at our best in crisis," Phyllis Young, an organizer for the Lakota People's Law Project, told the AP. "[This] is only making us more aware of our rights, more energized, and more likely to vote this November."

The effort comes as Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampLobbying World Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA On The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight MORE (D) is seeking to defend her seat against a strong challenge from Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerTrump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions The Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom Overnight Health Care: Liberals rip Democratic leaders for writing drug pricing bill in secret | Dems demand answers from company that shelters migrant kids | Measles cases top 1,000 MORE (R). 

A recent poll found Heitkamp trailing Kramer by 16 points.