AFN promotes Alaska Native Voting Rights at Key U.S. Senate Hearing

2019 AFN Parents of the Year award winners Ulric and Mary Ulroan. photo by Greg Lincoln

Alaska Federation of Natives Executive Vice President and General Counsel Nicole Borromeo testified today (Oct. 20th, 2021) before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on The Constitution in a hearing on Native voting rights. The hearing, “Restoring the Voting Rights Act: Protecting the Native American and Alaska Native Vote,” provided nationally prominent Native leaders the opportunity to speak in support of safeguarding Native voting rights through the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, or S.4, (VRAA).

Having worked to overcome the decades-long disenfranchisement of Alaska Native voters, and counting as members nearly 500 federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native corporations, AFN is well-positioned to help the Committee understand the continuing need to protect Alaska Native voting rights, including access to the electoral process. AFN stated that provisions in the VRAA, and Title III of that bill, The Frank Harrison, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and Miguel Trujillo Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021 (NAVRA), are essential to address the obstacles that continue to impede the political participation of Alaska Natives.

“NAVRA is an essential part of S.4 because it targets the unique barriers Alaska Native voters experience when we attempt to register to vote, cast a ballot, and have that ballot counted,” Borromeo testified. “Protecting the right to vote is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental civil rights issue for Alaska Natives.”