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 HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (D) is seeking to defend her seat against a strong challenge from Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenators highlight threat from invasive species Overnight Defense: Top general wasn't consulted on Syria withdrawal | Senate passes bill breaking with Trump on Syria | What to watch for in State of the Union | US, South Korea reach deal on troop costs GOP senators think Trump would win vote on emergency declaration MORE (R). 

A recent poll found Heitkamp trailing Kramer by 16 points.