Under the guise of nonprofit, nonpartisan get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaigns, Native American voter advocacy groups in Nevada handed out gift cards, electronics, clothing, and other items to voters in tribal areas, in many cases documenting the exchange of ballots for “prizes” on Facebook pages, sometimes even while wearing Joe Biden campaign gear.
Simply put, this is illegal. Offering voters anything of value in exchange for their vote is a violation of federal election law, and in some cases punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fines.
Funding for the Nevada Native Vote Projects (NNVP) appears to come from an umbrella group called Native Vote, an initiative of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI.) The organization get its funding from tribal groups, charitable foundations, and major corporations.
It also gets millions in funding from the federal government.
More than a half-dozen government ‘partners’ are listed on NCAI’s supporters page, including the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others. In 2018, federal agencies provided a total of more than $3 million to NCAI, according to the group’s own disclosures.
In the past few years, NNVP and NCAI have partnered with the advocacy group Four Directions, jointly producing a voter guide in 2012 and co-hosting a first-ever presidential forum in 2019, focused on Native American issues.
In January 2020, Four Directions co-hosted their second presidential forum in Las Vegas. The donations for that forum, as well as Four Directions’ own website, went through ActBlue, a progressive online platform that raised $1.6 billion for Democrats in the 2018 midterms and has since become a fundraising tool for Black Lives Matter.
And it didn’t only happen in Nevada. There were similar efforts undertaken in Idaho, Arizona, Washington, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas.
There are about 60,000 eligible Native American voters in Nevada who make up about three-percent of the state’s total voting population.