AFN Applauds Federal Court Decision in Native Voting Rights Case

scalesThe Alaska Federation of Natives fully supports U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs of the Toyukak v Treadwell voting rights case.  In her partial ruling today, Judge Gleason agreed with the Native voters’ argument that the state Division of Elections failed its duty to Native speakers with limited skills in English.

“This is a major step forward for Alaskan voter participation,” said AFN President Julie Kitka.  “The Native elders in the case rightly pointed out that the U.S. Voting Rights Act requires that the state provide election material in the Yup’ik and Gwich’in languages.  The law is the law.  We are pleased that Judge Gleason agrees.”

“We hope this signals a new chapter for Alaska’s elections, in which the state will stop fighting its own voters and really work to improve access equitably and increase voter turnout statewide,” Kitka added.

AFN applauds the Elders and village plaintiffs for standing up for their constitutional rights, and the Native American Rights Fund legal team for its effort on this difficult but critical case.