An upcoming State Bar of Arizona program explores the continued barriers to Native American electoral participation.

An upcoming State Bar of Arizona program explores the continued barriers to Native American electoral participation.

Still unsure what barriers prevent or dissuade Native American participation in the electoral process? As we head into election season, the barriers to exercising the franchise—and progress eradicating those barriers—will be addressed in a Phoenix program on Thursday, October 20.

Titled “Political Buy-In: A Look at the Barriers to (and) Participation of Native Americans in Tribal, State and Federal Elections,” organizers at the State Bar of Arizona describe it this way:

“This program will examine both the advances in Native American participation in all levels of elections and the continued barriers to effective participation in the election process. Participants can expect to gain a broad overview of how redistricting efforts, voter ID laws, and language barriers continue to marginalize Native Americans at the polls. The program will also look at possible changes to Native American participation at the federal level.”

A public radio program this week illustrates just how basic some of those barriers can be. In this story, journalist Carrie Jung spoke with Native Americans who face clear and existential obstacles to participating in elections.

Among those barriers are language challenges; traveling large distances, perhaps without a car; and even obtaining a voter ID when you have no formal address.

As Lori Riddle told Jung, “We’re used to giving directions out here by landmarks. There’s a tree. There’s two trees. There’s a big bush with purple flowers on it. [Poll workers have] tried to turn me away on a few occasions, even though they knew me.”

Among the topics to be discussed at the October 20 seminar are:

  • Voting Accessibility Act
  • Voter treatment in the polling places
  • Current lobbying trends in Native American Country
  • Implications of lack of early access voting for Native American voters
  • Constitutional guarantees

Panelists will be:

  • Heather Sibbison, Dentons LLP, Washington, DC
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • James T. Tucker, Armstrong Teasdale LLP, Las Vegas, NV
  • Mary O’Grady, Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix

The seminar chair will be Virjinya Torrez, Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O’odham Nation.

You can register here.

If you’re wondering why all this still matters in 2016, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee breaks it down as she speaks to KJZZ’s Carrie Jung:

“We’re the first people of the United States. And when people face these roadblocks, sometimes they’re not empowered. And we want to empower people. We’re a democracy.”

Speaker photos are below (click to enlarge).

Loyal to the democratic process? You may want to vote in a Bar election before it closes Wednesday afternoon. I voted sticker dog

Loyal to the democratic process? You may want to vote in a Bar election before it closes Wednesday afternoon.

[Note: This post was corrected to indicate that voting is done not on the State Bar website but via a link and credentials emailed directly to each affected Arizona attorney.]

Many of you may have done your civic duty and voted on some high-profile statewide propositions. But did you know that if you are an Arizona-admitted attorney in certain counties, you should be voting in another election too—one that determines who will sit on the State Bar Board of Governors?

And that online election closes at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAs the State Bar says:

“An election will be held this year to elect one member each from District 1 (Apache, Coconino, Mohave, and Navajo Counties), District 3 (Gila, Graham, and Greenlee Counties), District 4 (Cochise County), and District 7 (La Paz and Yuma Counties). Three members from District 5 (Pima and Santa Cruz Counties) will also be elected. Each elected member will serve a three-year term starting this June.”

So, yes, there are some contested elections. You can read how the candidates described themselves and their values here in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

And for even more functionality in reading about and seeing the candidates, go to the Bar’s user-friendly website here.

Finally, in order to cast your ballot, see the email sent directly to you from State Bar CEO John Phelps. That email contains a link to the ballot and your specific credentials to do so.

(Click to enlarge the images below.)

If you are a lawyer residing in District 6 (Maricopa County), it is time to exercise your right to select a representative to the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors. Ballots are open May 9 through May 23.

You should already have received a link to the ballot in your email. As we explained in Arizona Attorney Magazine:

“The Board of Governors elections will again be conducted online. Does the State Bar have your email address of record? (Rule 32(c)(3), Ariz.R.S.Ct.)

“A special election will be held this year to elect one member from District 6 (Maricopa County) to serve a two-year term. The newly elected member will fill the District 6 seat held by President Joe Kanefield after he completes his term as President. At that time, Joe will become the immediate past president and will serve one more year on the Board in an ex-officio capacity.”

Here is a link to descriptions of all the candidates.

Do you have any questions? Contact Carrie Sherman at 602.340.7201 or carrie.sherman@staff.azbar.org. She’s managing the election process and could answer most any question you could come up with. I guess you could say Carrie is in charge of democracy here at the State Bar (well, somebody’s got to do it!).

Let’s get voting!