October 26, 2020 – Business for America (BFA), which has been encouraging its members and all businesses to support free and fair federal elections in 2020, announced this week that it has united with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and its Native Vote initiative to provide essential equipment, material, and services to ensure access to the electoral process for American Indians and Alaska Natives and keep voters and poll workers safe.
Native Vote is a non-partisan initiative to support voter registration and Get-Out-The- Native-Vote (GOTNV) efforts, election protections, education outreach, and data collection. The need for safe and secure voting this year is particularly high given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across Indian Country.
BFA’s Operation Vote Safe (OVS) has been working to support Secretaries of State to conduct safe and fair elections by providing needed resources and supplies such as personal protection equipment (PPE) and funding for ballot drop boxes. Further, OVS’s supporting companies have been recruiting their employees to serve as poll workers and tech support as well as providing paid leave for voting. BFA is coordinating donations of needed material to 13 states; the partnership with NCAI is its first specific contribution to elections in tribal communities and areas with high concentrations of Native voters.
OVS supporter donations to the NCAI Native Vote efforts include:
“This is one of the most important elections in our lifetime and American Indians and Alaska Natives deserve to be both visible and heard,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “Native people, the first peoples of this land, were the last to get the right to vote – and did not receive this right until more than 150 years after the U.S. was founded. In a report released by the Native American Rights Fund earlier this year titled ‘Obstacles at Every Turn,’ we learned that Native people still face several obstacles and barriers to voting. It is time to close the gap in those barriers and we thank Business for America and their partners for stepping forward to assist Indian Country with much-needed resources so we can do our part to ensure that every Native vote counts.”
“Every American in every corner of our country deserves access to vote safely and securely, whether they live in a densely populated urban area or on remote tribal territories,” said Sarah Bonk, Founder & CEO of Business for America. “Voting among American Indians and Alaska Natives has been too difficult for far too long, and the spread of COVID-19 has made it even more challenging than usual. We are proud that our American business members understand how essential voting is to our future and want to support safe and open elections for Native people.”
BFA is working to support NCAI’s efforts in eight states: Nevada, North and South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico. Businesses and other interested stakeholders in these states can support the electoral process within tribal homelands and areas with a high concentration of Native voters by visiting OperationVoteSafe.org and making a donation via the Operation Vote Safe Action Map.
“BFA has systems in place to coordinate the delivery of materials quickly and safely, we just need the continued support – financial or essential materials – from businesses around the country,” Bonk concluded.
About the National Congress of American Indians
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and mostrepresentative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAIadvocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding amongthe general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people andrights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.
About Business for America
Business for America is a nonpartisan network of business leaders advancing solutions to boost civic engagement, reduce political polarization, and modernize government. A well-functioning democracy will help foster a more competitive, innovative business climate in America. Businesses interested in getting involved can learn more at bfa.us.