U.S. House members visit Standing Rock to discuss voter suppression, discrimination

Native Americans across the state say they're looking for change when it comes to voting ahead of next election season.

The voter ID requirements in the state started an initiative across reservations to get voters their identifications in time to have their voices heard during the Midterm elections.

A U.S. House subcommittee hearing was held in Standing Rock this morning to hear from all the reservations claiming voter suppression and discrimination they continue to feel.

The subcommittee is meeting with seven states to hear firsthand what the issues are.

This is an initiative they've already done in two states since they are looking for ways to help all voters exercise their rights to vote.

The youth is what reservations are seeking a better future for.

"We have scraped and scraped and survived these past 200 years," said Alysia Lacounte, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa:

She says the 2018 Midterm elections will be a part of the their cultural history.

Lacounte said, "Still with this mandate of free identification cards, things were not easy."

Thousands of dollars put in by tribes in a race to get as many people as possible to the polls with ID's.

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-U.S., House said: "Here in North Dakota everybody had the opportunity to cast that vote and so many more compared to last mid year elections. They chose to do so and that's what makes this country great."

The voter turnout was better than years prior...but the tribes say it would’ve been a different story if it wasn't for their push.

"This election cycle the tribe responded with valuable resources to try to ensure members were no disenfranchised," Charles Walker, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The U.S. House subcommittees purpose is to listen to their complaints and try to make a difference.

"We don't have time to wait for any laws to be enacted for us. We're on the move to create a task force," said Phyllis Young, former Standing Rock elections coordinator.

Tribal members say they're grateful the issue is on the national level though

"It's finally time for us to allow them to stand up the way they should and make sure that they’re a part of this entire democracy. And I'm happy about the fact that they are fighting every day to ensure their voices are heard and I'm going to help them," said Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-U.S. House.

The tribes say they want better polling proximity and accessibility, in person voter registration, and Have Americans Vote Again funds for early voter locations.

The tribes say they remain concerned with the states voter ID law. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has joined the Spirit Lake lawsuit against the state and say they'll continue to fight against the repression they feel.