Voting access expanded on tribal lands

A ballot box in Denver, Colorado, on Sept. 20, 2020.
A ballot box in Denver, Colorado, on Sept. 20, 2020.(Cliffordsnow / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 3:29 PM MDT
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DENVER, Colo. (KKCO) - Members of the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute tribes will see expanded access to voting during next week’s General Election thanks to a partnership between the two tribes’ leadership and the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

According to a press release from the Secretary of State’s office, voters living on Southern Ute tribal land will see voting options available to the rest of Colorado offered in their area for the first time. Early voting is now available on Tribal Land and starts on November 4. According to the SoS website, early voting is twelve days later on Tribal land than many Colorado counties, including Mesa County.

Ballot drop boxes have also been added in Ignacio, Towaoc, and Arboles.

“Voting is important to all residents of La Plata County including those who reside on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. We want to ensure that all voters have access and are pleased to have a voting service and polling center on our tribal campus for extended early voting,” said Southern Ute Chairman Melvin J. Baker.

Both tribes will also have dedicated Tribal Election Outreach Coordinators to share election information and resources with other members, according to the release.

“The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe provides a location for a ballot box and a voting center on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in Colorado so as to accommodate early and in-person voting for residents of the reservation. This has enabled more Tribal Members to participate in state and federal elections, ensuring that the Ute people have a voice in the selection of state and federal elected officials. The Tribe is proud to partner with the state of Colorado to ensure that all Colorado voters can participate in state and federal elections,” said Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart.