On Thursday, September 14, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton in Phoenix ruled in favor of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the Gila River Indian Community and Native youth against a voter suppression law requiring proof of a physical address.

Considering more than 40,000 homes on Indian reservations across Arizona do not have physical addresses, the decision is viewed as a victory for Native Americans in the state.

The order holds that the proof of address requirements in Arizona HB 2492 are preempted by the National Voter Registration Act.

Under Judge Bolton’s ruling, the bill’s address requirements must be liberally interpreted so that no one is required to have a standard street address in order to vote and so that numerous documents can be used to satisfy the requirement, including an Arizona-issued ID listing only a P.O. Box or any tribal identification document, regardless of whether it has an address.

“We applaud the Court’s ruling, which ensures citizens living in their tribal communities will not be disenfranchised because they don’t have an address. Native people in Arizona will continue to fight for their right to participate in democracy,” said Native American Rights Fund Staff Attorney Allison Neswood.

“The Gila River Indian Community is pleased with this decision, which will ensure our Community members can exercise their right to vote using tribal identification and our Reservation addresses,” Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Lewis said. “We continue to fight for our voice to be heard through our vote and will resist any attempts to suppress our votes because, as we have shown in the last several elections, our Community’s vote counts and the Native vote matters.”

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Verlon Jose said, “This is a great day for the Tohono O’odham Nation and all Arizona tribes. This decision reaffirms that tribal citizens have the same constitutional voting rights as every other American. The Nation will always fight to uphold our people’s right to vote, which is the foundation of our democracy. We want to thank the Native American Rights Fund for working with us to bring about this momentous ruling.”

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

Tohono O’odham Nation, Gila River Indian Community, and individual Native voters are represented by the Native American Rights Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Osborn Maledon, P.A., in litigation that has been consolidated with related cases under the case name, Mi Familia Vota v. Arizona.

More Stories Like This

LA's Largest-Ever Land Back an 'Important Step' in the Movement
'It’s happy sad': Two Oyate Boys Leave Carlisle, Others Left Behind
'I just don’t want it to die in front of me' | One Ho-Chunk Man's Mission to Save Ho-Chunk Language
Association on American Indian Affairs Strengthens Executive Leadership with New Hire
California Excluded from Federal MMIP Support, Leaders Pressure Dept. of Justice for Inclusion

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].