Interior Secretary announces SIPI may become a new voter registration agency
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, also known as SIPI, celebrated its 50th anniversary Tuesday with a visit by U.S. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland. She reflected on the achievements of the community college and how her agency is working to designate it as a new voter registration agency.
Haaland said SIPI is a leader in Indian education and an integral place for Indigenous students.
“When we feel we are part of a community, we see why it is so important to leave the ladder down behind us for the next generation to climb,” she told the crowd.
The visit coincided with National Voter Registration Day and Haaland said the new designation will help expand voting access for enrolled students and community members.
“No matter who you vote for the act of voting, standing up and saying I will be counted, it matters,” Haaland said.
The Interior Department is working to designate SIPI and Haskell Indian University in Kansas as voter registration agencies.
Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, voter registration agencies distribute voter registration applications, offer assistance for applicants completing these forms, and send completed applications to state election officials.
Last year President Joe Biden directed the head of each federal agency to evaluate ways to encourage voter registration.
This move by Interior to designate SIPI and Haskell follows the March release of the White House’s Native American Voting Rights Report, which found barriers to Native people voting and made recommendations for removing those barriers.
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