Native American voting groups have made it their mission over the years to get as many of their members to the polls as possible. That effort has even greater urgency, as North Carolina prepares next week to hold one of its most closely watched elections ever.
The 40,000 voting-eligible Lumbee tribal members living in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District could swing the special election for the tightly contested U.S. House race pitting Republican Dan Bishop against Democrat Dan McCready.
Ahead of next Tuesday’s vote, tribal members have been knocking on doors to encourage their neighbors to get out to the polls. Working with the Native voting-rights group Four Directions, more than two dozen members of the Lumbee tribe have been hired to visit every home on the reservation, and to even drive people to the polls if necessary.
Just 26% of eligible Native voters cast ballots in last year’s election. Harvey Godwin Jr., chair of the Lumbee Tribe, told ThinkProgress that there are various reasons that fewer Native people turn out at the polls than he would like, and not all of them have to do with voter suppression.