Nevada Looking at Native Americans Voting by Internet


Nevada is a state in play this November election, so politicians have a plan to allow Native Americans to vote in the most insecure way. The solution is raising eyebrows.

Native Americans in Nevada have complained about not having enough access to voting or early voting. They want to vote on their own lands, which is understandable. That led to politicians suggesting they can vote electronically via phones, web portals, or even fax machines, including during early voting periods.


Voting on reservations across the country has historically been difficult, with tribal voters sometimes having to travel dozens of miles to their polling place. Slow mail service and lack of a physical address, common on tribal lands, have proved challenging.

The new process — the ability to cast ballots electronically — has the potential to significantly boost turnout among all tribes in Nevada. But what some see as a small measure of justice to equalize voting rights raises security concerns for others, with implications far beyond Nevada’s 28 tribal communities as the nation braces for what is expected to be another close and contentious presidential election in November.

Under the plan, tribal members in Nevada who live on a reservation or colony can receive a ballot electronically through an online system set up by the state and then return it electronically. While not speaking specifically about Nevada’s system, experts warn that such voting — when a completed ballot is sent back either by email, through an online portal or by fax — carries risks of ballots being intercepted or manipulated and should be used sparingly, if at all.

That doesn’t sound secure.

Why can’t they vote on their own lands? Why not just add polling places?

Opening up the Internet is the camel’s nose under the tent.

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