Know where you need to vote on the Rez
By Sam Sandoval
Over 30 Western Native Voice T-shirts were handed out at the “Rez Out the Vote” comedy night featuring the Native comedy team The 1491’s. (Lailani Upham photo)
FLATHEAD RESERVATION — The highly contested race for the office of the President of the United States comes to a head on Tuesday, November 6. Incumbent President Barack Obama faces former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Also on the docket are state and local political races. This year, the governorship will go to State Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) or former Congressman Rick Hill (R). Senator Jon Tester (D) defends his seat against Congressman Denny Rehberg (R). Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau (D) faces off against challenger Sandy Welch (R). Kim Gillan (D) and Steve Daines (R) race for Montana’s lone Congressional seat. Pam Bucy (D) and Tim Fox (R) are vying for Montana Attorney General.
Visits from these candidates campaigns and from several Native American groups have been working hard to get the members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to vote this year.
Native American comedy group, The 1491's visit to Salish Kootenai College last Wednesday to encourage tribal members to head to the polls, and today (Thursday, November 1), most of the previously mentioned politicians will be at SKC to shake hands and cut frybread. (Click here or scroll down to see below)
Crucial to exercising your right to vote is knowing where the polling locations will be for your town and county.
On the Flathead Reservation, there are a number of polling locations for each county, town and/or precinct. The follow counties have polling locations on the Reservation.
For Lake County:
• Polson, Elmo, Big Arm, Finley Point East Shore, Rocky Point, Kings Point, West Shore and South Shore, Turtle Lake Area – Polson Linderman Gym, 411 2nd St. E., Polson;
• Dayton, Rollins, Proctor and upper west shore area – Dayton Presbyterian Church, 43578 B. St., Dayton;
• Pablo, Ronan and surrounding area – Ronan Community Center, 300 3rd Ave. NW, Ronan;
• Charlo and Moiese and surrounding area – Charlo School Gym, 404 1st Ave. W, Charlo;
• St. Ignatius and surrounding area and east of St. Ignatius – St. Ignatius School Gym, 76 3rd Ave. St., St. Ignatius; and
• Arlee and Ravalli – Arlee Senior Center, 34532 Wessinger St., Arlee.
For late registrants, you must register at the Lake County Courthouse, Election Office located in the South East Corner, lower level, at 106 4th Ave., Polson.
For Sanders County:
• Hot Springs – Hot Springs Senior Center, 101 Main St., Suite 1, Hot Springs;
• Dixon – Dixon Senior Center, 35 3rd St., Dixon;
For late registration, you must register and vote at the Sanders County Courthouse, 111 Main St., Thompson Falls.
For Missoula County:
• Evaro – Evaro Fire Station, 6900 Grooms Rd.
For late registrants, you must register and vote at the Fairgrounds Bldg 15, 1101 South Ave., Missoula from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Polling hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in all polling locations.
If you wish to vote early, or register to vote before the election on November 6, contact the election office in your county’s courthouse. Contact information is below.
Many of these locations are separated into precincts. If you registered to vote and would like to find out which polling precinct you reside in and where you must vote, point your Internet browser to https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo. Enter your first and last name and date of birth, and a secured Internet connection will send you the precinct information and polling location. A downloadable app for Android and iPhone smartphones is also available through the website.
Tribal members are encouraged to utilize their voting right this election season. Voting rights for Native American’s is less than a hundred years old. In 1924, Native Americans were allowed to vote in elections, four years after women were allowed to vote. However, full voting rights didn’t occur until 1962 when New Mexico finally allowed their native population to vote.
In 2006, Jon Tester credited the Native Vote for his win over then-Senator Conrad Burns, which barely tipped the scale in his favor. This year, three reservations were not given polling locations for early voting registrations, thus those tribal peoples had to travel to their county seats or mail their registration forms. Trips to their county seats could be up to a 100 miles. These reservations – Gros Ventre and Assiniboine, Northern Cheyenne, and Crow – sued the state for this decision. In the 2008 election, then Senator Barack Obama was adopted by the Crow tribe.
For more information, contact your county’s Elections Office: Lake County Election Office, phone (406) 883-7268 or visit http://www.lakecounty-mt.org/elections/index.html; Sanders County Elections - Clerk and Recorders Office, phone (406) 827-6922 or visit http://www.co.sanders.mt.us/Pages/ClerkRecorder.html; or Missoula County Clerk and Recorder/Treasurer, phone (406) 258-3234, or visit http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/election/.
To find out more about Montana’s elections, visit http://sos.mt.gov/elections/.
Rides are also available to voting locations. For rides, contact Erica Shelby at 207-7095; Casey Askan at 260-3596; or the Lake County Democrat Head Quarters at 571-2025. You do not need to be Democrat to get a ride to vote.
Additional information by Amy Stiffarm.
PABLO — Join Senator Jon Tester, Congressional candidate Kim Gillan, Governor candidate and Attorney General Steve Bullock, Superintendent Denise Juneau, Attorney General candidate Pam Bucy, State Auditor Monica Lindeen, and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch for the Flathead Rock the Rez Vote Rally on Thursday, November 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the SKC Johnny Arlee-Victor Charlo Theater, located on the Salish Kootenai College campus.
Free Indian tacos will be served.