Nevada Creates Online Voting System for Tribal Lands

The state of Nevada has introduced a new plan that will allow tribal lands to cast their ballots electronically.

ABC News reported members of the Walker River Paiute Tribe filed a lawsuit against the state of Nevada to expand voting rights for Nevada tribes.

As a result of the lawsuit, Nevada has initiated a new plan to allow members of tribal nations to cast their votes electronically.

In the new plan, people who live on a reservation “can receive a ballot electronically through an online system set up by the state and then return it electronically.”

Cal Boone, the tribal outreach coordinator for the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, stated, “In past years, tribes didn’t have access to vote in multiple ways. You had to rely on the mail system to cast your vote or otherwise drive out to great lengths to vote.”

Per ABC News:

Members of the Walker River Paiute Tribe have watched the boundaries of their land recede over time along with the waters of the lake that are central to their identity, threatening the cultural symbol that gave the tribe its name — Agai Dicutta, or Trout Eaters.

Not wanting to cede their voice, tribal leaders have been making a push for expanded voting rights. That effort includes filing a lawsuit on behalf of all Nevada tribes seeking polling places on tribal lands and access to early voting.

The state has now granted the Walker River Paiutes and other tribes in Nevada a new right that advocates hope will greatly expand voting access for a community that gained U.S. citizenship only a century ago.

The new process — the ability to cast ballots electronically — has the potential to significantly boost turnout among all tribes in Nevada. But what some see as a small measure of justice to equalize voting rights raises security concerns for others, with implications far beyond Nevada’s 28 tribal communities as the nation braces for what is expected to be another close and contentious presidential election in November.

Under the plan, tribal members in Nevada who live on a reservation or colony can receive a ballot electronically through an online system set up by the state and then return it electronically. While not speaking specifically about Nevada’s system, experts warn that such voting — when a completed ballot is sent back either by email, through an online portal or by fax — carries risks of ballots being intercepted or manipulated and should be used sparingly, if at all.


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