NIGA’s Stevens: Get Out and Vote!

Dear Editor,

“The Indian country vote will once again make a difference.”

The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights and duties we have as American citizens and is the foundation of our government. Our nation’s democratic system is founded on the abiding principle that people consent to be governed. One of the most basic and important ways we give our consent is by casting our vote.

In just a week or two, on November 4th, 2008, we will be going to the polls to select new leadership in the White House and Washington, D.C. Our voting right ensures that we have a say in our communities and this country’s future. Whether we take advantage of that opportunity is up to us.

Recent history has shown that our vote in Indian Country has been critical to the outcome of many recent elections. The Native vote does make a difference at all three levels: national, state and local.

I encourage everybody to once again be part of the empowerment of our people in Indian Country and make your voice heard at the ballot box. By going to the polls in record numbers once again, your voice will solidify the Native voice in Washington, D.C., and will be the difference in making sure that the leaders we elect will join us in defending our sovereignty and are committed to serving the interests of Indian Country.

It is no secret that Legislators respond to numbers and if we turn out in record numbers again on Election Day, your voice will be that much stronger on Capitol Hill. Our collective electoral power can help bring the improvements we seek for our communities. Public policy can be influenced and your vote will be the strength; the catalyst in helping us move the Indian Country priorities further.

All around this country, in every major election over the past few years, our vote has made a tremendous difference. That is why pushing the Native vote has been a priority in this electoral cycle, especially in many of the key swing states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin. They know that the Indian Country vote will once again make a difference.

We must select people who will work on behalf of the best interests of Indian Country.

Ernie Stevens Jr., Chairman

National Indian Gaming Association