Tribal leaders push for big Indian voter turnout

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Associated Press

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 3:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 9:04 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A tribal newspaper in Arizona is publishing a detailed voter guide for the first time ever. A New Mexico pueblo is sending kindergartners home with get-out-the-vote buttons for their parents. Tribes in Wisconsin are reaching out to young adults with a Rock the Vote event.

Native American communities nationwide are working hard to tap about 3 million Native American voters, hoping to turn around low voter participation that has persisted for decades.

The push is being headed by the largest group representing Native Americans, the National Congress of American Indians. The group calls low turnout a "civic emergency" — fueled by everything from language barriers and vast distances between polling places to high unemployment and poverty.

The NCAI and its partners are focusing on 18 states with high Indian populations.

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