DOT issues photo IDs on Standing Rock reservation

Published: May. 21, 2020 at 5:56 PM CDT
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The North Dakota Department of Transportation is working with Indian Affairs to insure Native Americans have access to mail-in voting.

With the primary election weeks away, the North Dakota Department of Transportation is visiting all five reservations to issue ID cards to those who need one to vote.

It's considered an essential service, since many on the reservation don't have a street address, which in necessary to get most ID's.

"I thought it was very convenient due to the fact that hardly anyone has vehicles and things like that to go to Bismarck," said Catherine Silk, a Standing Rock resident.

The mobile DOT helps residents of standing rock gain access to state elections.

"They're trying to help in any way they can to get an ID to individuals so they can actually vote," said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith.

Some residents saw other advantages to updating their cards.

"There were things expiring, so we thought we would go ahead and transfer everything over, while getting registered to vote and things like that," said Silk.

However, some had concerns about getting an ID.

"Although there may be some questions of are you giving up jurisdiction to the state? I don't think so. We’re not doing that. It’s just that the state is offering another form of ID also," said Faith.

The DOT said its intentions are to help.

"The goal is to just help everyone out to get them an identification so they can vote in the primary and November election," said Brad Schaffer, DOT drivers license director.

The DOT said it has issued more than 75 ID cards to reservations.

They will be visiting New Town on Friday, followed by Hankinson on Tuesday.

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