Friom today’s The Guardian:
Days before a new legislative map for North Dakota was set to be introduced in the state house, leaders of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Spirit Lake Nation sent a letter to the governor and other state lawmakers urging them to rethink the proposal.
“All citizens deserve to have their voices heard and to be treated fairly and equally under the law,” they wrote, arguing that the proposed map was illegal, diluting the strength of their communities’ voice.
But instead, in early November, the Republican-controlled legislature approved the map, with only minor changes. And the Republican governor, Doug Burgum, quickly signed it.
“Our voice is going to be muffled once again,” the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa chairman, Jamie Azure, told the Guardian. “It’s getting a little sickening, tell you the truth.”
The nations have sued the state, alleging that the map, which was meant to account for population changes identified in the 2020 census, doesn’t comply with section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, claims the map packs some Indigenous voters into one House subdistrict, while putting other “nearby Native American voters into two other districts dominated by white voters who bloc vote against Native Americans’ preferred candidates”. It adds that complying with the Voting Rights Act would mean placing the two nations in a single district, where they would “comprise an effective, geographically compact majority”.
Azure said: “We never want to enter into lawsuits; we never want to do these things. But, you know, at a certain point, the goodwill just goes out the window. And, you know, we’re tired of being disrespected. And that’s how we feel with this lawsuit.”
North Dakota’s secretary of state, Al Jaeger, the top election official for the state, told the Guardian in an email that they do not comment on ongoing legal cases.
Read the complete story here.