PRESS RELEASE from National Congress of American Indians

Native Americans could Decide Race in Key States NCAI Focuses on Election Protection Efforts

WASHINGTON—November 3, 2008—As Americans head to the polls tomorrow to cast a vote for their respective presidential candidate and other political positions, Native Americans could sway not only the presidential election turnout but many congressional and gubernatorial seats in several swing states. The National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Native Vote Campaign has narrowed the Native Vote targeted states and provided an election protection hotline for Election Day.
“Over the last year, the presidential candidates have paid particular attention to Native American voters and tribal needs in hopes to gain support, and now the day has come for Native voters to engage in democracy and do their civic duty,” said NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Johnson Pata. “I have no doubt that Native voters will flood to the polls in record numbers tomorrow. We’re anticipating a strong Native turnout.”
Some Native Vote targeted states show a presidential toss-up, such as Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota. Alaska and Arizona have close congressional races and Wisconsin has about an even gubernatorial race. “It is great to see candidates vying for the Native vote,” Johnson Pata said.
• Colorado: 66,707 Voting Age Population – 2% of total population
 100,520 is the margin Sen. Salazar won his seat by in 2004

• Montana: 57,598 Voting Age Population – 6% of total population
 3,562 is margin Sen. Tester won his seat by in 2004

• Nevada: 39,329 Voting Age Population – 2% of total population
 21,500 is margin Pres. Bush won state by in 2004

• New Mexico: 140,401 Vote Age Population – 11% of total population
 5,988 is margin Pres. Bus won state by in 2004

• North Dakota: 24,021 Voting Age Population – 6% of total population
 29,111 is margin Gov. Hoeven first won state by in 2000

“Our Native Vote team is working diligently with our state leads and community organizers to make sure young people and elders alike make it to the polls tomorrow,” Johnson Pata said. “We are also anticipating some minor problems with Natives casting their vote tomorrow, so we have set a toll free election protection number.”

The number, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, is a volunteer-based, non-partisan voting rights helpline to assist Native voters if they experience difficulties with voting. In recent elections, Native voters have encountered efforts to deny access to the polls, denial of native language assistance, interference from partisan poll monitors and unwillingness to accept tribal government identification cards as a form of identification. Voters can also call the hotline if the polling location opens late or closes early, if there are not enough ballots or if a vote was challenged for any reason. Please visit for more information.