Residents of reservations will be able to register and vote this year even if they don’t comply with the state’s restrictive voter identification law, which requires voters to have an ID with a residential address, under an agreement announced late Thursday.
…The address requirement has disenfranchised thousands of people living on reservations, because the state does not assign street numbers to their homes.
…Under the new consent decree, the secretary of state has promised to ensure Native Americans may vote if they do not have a street address or don’t know what it is. (Some buildings on reservations have formal addresses but no signage, and almost all residents rely on post office boxes and have those numbers on their tribal IDs.)
…The state has maintained the rule was designed to deter voting fraud, but Native Americans see it as a straightforward bid to suppress their reliably Democratic vote.
…Native Americans constitute about 5 percent of the state’s population, making them a crucial voting bloc in close contests. Different tribes have been challenging the law in federal court for almost four years.