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76-Year-Old Woman Successfully Challenges Law

Native American Times, Posted: Jul 30, 2008

FORT MCDOWELL YAVAPAI NATION, ARIZ. An Arizona law that required a birth certificate or other forms of identification was no match for an illiterate 76-year-old Navajo woman. Turned away from the polls during the 2006 elections, Agnes Laughter felt humiliated and degraded. "It was as if I didn't even exist," she said. She did not possess a birth certificate and had always used her thumbprint as identification, but for the first time was disqualified.

Laughter was determined to redress the injury and joined the Navajo Nation in challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law, Proposition 200. In April the Navajos reached a settlement with the State of Arizona revising the voting procedures for Native American voters. In May, the U.S. Department of Justice provided a broad list of documents that could serve as voter identification for Native Americans.

Laughter was awarded a citizenship award by the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, and earlier this month, the Navajo Nation Council recognized her for her role in filing the lawsuit against Prop 200.



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