Non-profit

Natives Vote

Website:

nativesvote2020.com/

Principal Officers:

Judith LeBlanc and Crystal Echohawk

Formation:

Prior to the 2020 Election

Not to be confused with Native Vote, a voter engagement project of the National Congress of American Indians.

Natives Vote is a left-of-center Native American activist organization formed by collaboration between left-of-center Native American activist organizations IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, and the University of Colorado Boulder’s[1] First Peoples Worldwide.[2] [3]

Natives Vote produced and distributed artwork,[4] including pieces showing the destruction of Mt. Rushmore, [5] [6] as a part of its effort to expand Native American voter turnout in the 2020 election. Natives Vote receives research support and funding from left-of-center advocacy group NDN Collective[7] and routes its online donations through the left-of-center ActBlue Charities.[8]

Judith LeBlanc, former national vice-chair of the Communist Party USA [9] [10] and director of the left-of-center Native Organizers Alliance (NOA) is one of Natives Vote’s co-chairs. [11] [12]

History and Leadership

Natives Vote was founded as a collaborative effort between the left-of-center IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, and University of Colorado Boulder’s First Peoples Worldwide to use the 2020 election as an “inflection point”[13] to increase Native American political power and increase voter turnout throughout Indian Country.[14]

Judith LeBlanc, former national vice-chair of the Communist Party USA[15] [16] and director of the left-of-center Native Organizers Alliance,[17] co-leads Natives Vote with Crystal Echohawk, director of the left-of-center IllumiNative. [18] [19] Echohawk has made 62 donations to political candidates or committees since 2018, all either directly to Democratic Party candidates or routed through ActBlue.[20]

Activities and Funding

Natives Vote focused on the production and distribution of artwork, videos,[21] apparel, and gear (such as branded COVID face masks) [22] to increase Native American turnout around the country. Natives Vote’s branded “voting is sacred” t-shirts were “a few of the incentives used to energize voters” at two or more voting sites in Nevada.[23]

Natives Vote’s 2020 election artwork collection to encourage voter participation includes two images which show the destruction of Mt. Rushmore along with “defend sovereignty,” “vote early,” and “vote” slogans.[24] [25]

In addition to their art and media activities, Natives Vote co-hosted a town hall with IllumiNative and NOA to increase youth turnout in 2020[26] and asked individuals to call the phone number associated with[27] the left-of-center Election Protection Coalition for voting assistance.[28]

Prior to the 2020 election, Natives Vote used TurboVote,[29] a project of Democracy Works, a non-profit that promotes the use of technology to increase voter engagement largely funded by left-of-center private foundations,[30] to steer individuals to check registration status and register to vote on their site.[31]

Despite being organization formed by the left-of-center IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance (NOA), and First Peoples Project,[32] [33] Natives Vote also received financial support from the University of Colorado Boulder Outreach Awards Committee[34] and received research funding from left-of-center advocacy group NDN Collective.[35]

In 2020, Natives Vote hosted a 2020 election pledge on the left-of-center fundraising website Action Network[36] and redirected potential donors to an ActBlue network fundraising webpage which informs donors that their donation will benefit the left-of-center Native Organizers Alliance and not the Natives Vote organization.[37]

References

  1. “Faculty Led Projects.” University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado Law. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.colorado.edu/law/academics/public-service/service-opportunities/faculty-led-projects. ^
  2. “Social Justice and Voter Enfranchisement in Indian Country.” First Peoples Worldwide, University of Colorado Boulder. October 30, 2020. Accessed via Web Archive. https://web.archive.org/web/20210426131136/https://www.colorado.edu/program/fpw/2020/10/30/social-justice-and-voter-enfranchisement-indian-country. ^
  3. “About the Campaign.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/about-the-campaign. ^
  4. “Art.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/art. ^
  5. “At the Mountains of Rushmore: Defend Sovereignty VOTE EARLY.” Nathaniel Ruleaux Art. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nathanielruleaux.com/nativesvote-2020/ysw4r3tad15i00xs0455qa8tnl1il3. ^
  6. “At the Mountains of Rushmore: VOTE.” Nathaniel Ruleaux Art. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nathanielruleaux.com/nativesvote-2020/ysw4r3tad15i00xs0455qa8tnl1il3. ^
  7. “About the Campaign.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/about-the-campaign. ^
  8. “Natives Vote 2020.” ActBlue Fundraising Site. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/nativesvote. ^
  9. “Live Audio Stream of the CPUSA National Board Meeting January 26, 2003.” CPUSA.org. January 26, 2003. https://www.cpusa.org/article/live-audio-stream-of-the-cpusa-national-board-meeting-january-26-2003/. ^
  10. “Judith LeBlanc.” CSPAN. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.c-span.org/person/?judithleblanc. ^
  11. Herrera, Allison. “Voting Advocates Expect Indigenous Participation To Increase in 2020 Election.” KOSU NPR. November 3, 2020. https://www.kosu.org/politics/2020-11-03/voting-advocates-expect-indigenous-participation-to-increase-in-2020-election. ^
  12. “Judith LeBlanc.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/judith-leblanc-b3ba7a3/. ^
  13. “Natives Vote.” Native Organizers Alliance. September 21, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativeorganizing.org/natives-vote/. ^
  14. “Natives Vote.” Native Organizers Alliance. September 21, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativeorganizing.org/natives-vote/. ^
  15. “Live Audio Stream of the CPUSA National Board Meeting January 26, 2003.” CPUSA.org. January 26, 2003. https://www.cpusa.org/article/live-audio-stream-of-the-cpusa-national-board-meeting-january-26-2003/. ^
  16. “Judith LeBlanc.” CSPAN. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.c-span.org/person/?judithleblanc. ^
  17. “About Us.” Native Organizers Alliance. Accessed April 26, 2021. http://nativeorganizing.org/about-us/. ^
  18. Herrera, Allison. “Voting Advocates Expect Indigenous Participation To Increase in 2020 Election.” KOSU NPR. November 3, 2020. https://www.kosu.org/politics/2020-11-03/voting-advocates-expect-indigenous-participation-to-increase-in-2020-election. ^
  19. “Judith LeBlanc.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/judith-leblanc-b3ba7a3/. ^
  20. “Crystal Echohawk.” FEC Individual Contributions. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=crystal+echohawk. ^
  21. “Benjamin Bratt on Natives Vote.” IllumiNative Facebook. September 23, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://m.facebook.com/IllumiNativeOrg/videos/250775352941704/. ^
  22. “Art.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/art. ^
  23. Orozco Rodriguez, Jazmin. “Tribal leaders spearhead mobilization efforts for untapped Native voters dealing with ‘tyranny of distance.’” The Nevada Independent. November 3, 2020. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/tribal-leaders-spearhead-mobilization-efforts-for-untapped-native-voters-dealing-with-tyranny-of-distance-among-other-voting-obstacles. ^
  24. “At the Mountains of Rushmore: Defend Sovereignty VOTE EARLY.” Nathaniel Ruleaux Art. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nathanielruleaux.com/nativesvote-2020/ysw4r3tad15i00xs0455qa8tnl1il3. ^
  25. “At the Mountains of Rushmore: VOTE.” Nathaniel Ruleaux Art. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nathanielruleaux.com/nativesvote-2020/ysw4r3tad15i00xs0455qa8tnl1il3. ^
  26. “Natives Vote Town Hall.” IllumiNative. Facebook Video. September 22, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://m.facebook.com/events/3319304298155634. ^
  27. “Upcoming Elections in Your State.” Election Protection 866-OUR-VOTE. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://866ourvote.org/. ^
  28. “Natives vote on Election Day.” Press Release. Indian Country Today. November 3, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://indiancountrytoday.com/the-press-pool/natives-vote-on-election-day?redir=1. ^
  29. “Home.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/. ^
  30. “BallotReady.” InfluenceWatch. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://www.influencewatch.org/for-profit/ballotready/. ^
  31. Janfaza, Rachel. “Snapchat announces tools to increase youth voter engagement.” CNN.com. August 6, 2020. Accessed April 25, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/06/politics/snapchat-voting-tools/index.html. ^
  32. “Social Justice and Voter Enfranchisement in Indian Country.” First Peoples Worldwide, University of Colorado Boulder. October 30, 2020. Accessed via Web Archive. https://web.archive.org/web/20210426131136/https://www.colorado.edu/program/fpw/2020/10/30/social-justice-and-voter-enfranchisement-indian-country. ^
  33. “About the Campaign.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/about-the-campaign. ^
  34. “About the Campaign.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/about-the-campaign. ^
  35. “About the Campaign.” Natives Vote. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://nativesvote2020.com/about-the-campaign. ^
  36. “2020 Election Pledge.” ActionNetwork.org. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://actionnetwork.org/forms/2020-election-pledge?source=email2&link_id=1&can_id=7279f43f6828d8e9687b1f6d5de91e31&email_referrer=email_955619&email_subject=this-indigenous-peoples-day-couldnt-be-more-important. ^
  37. “Natives Vote 2020.” ActBlue Fundraising Site. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/nativesvote. ^
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