Following through with his promise to stand up and help get out the Native vote, Billy Ray Cyrus performed for a packed house at Turtle Mountain Tribal Community College Sunday night. Actor Mark Ruffalo and native entertainers joined Cyrus while tribal council staff provided four machines on site to make new identification cards for those who did not have street addresses on their IDs. Overall, officials said more than 2,000 new voters are registered in this election.
“Looking out into the crowd, it looked like hope. Looking into their eyes, you could see and feel the hope in the room. This was one of the most special and sacred nights that I’ve ever been part of. I could feel the optimism from the kids. They’re the future of democracy. They’re the change,” Cyrus shared. Cyrus’ packed show is the second free concert in North Dakota following a Dave Matthews event at Prairie Knights Casino in Cannon Ball, N.D.
On October 9, the US Supreme Court prohibited North Dakotans from using their state and tribal ID’s with PO box addresses to vote. The decision is widely expected to suppress Native American voter turnout. Many Native Americans use PO boxes as their physical address on their identification cards as the post office does not deliver mail to street addresses on many of the reservations. By upholding the ID requirement just weeks before the November 6 election, many voters may unknowingly be unable to vote, disenfranchising Native Americans.
For more information on #StandNVote, visit StandNVote.org.
Cyrus recently released “Goddess of Democracy,” a thought-provoking ballad that washes fluidly over current events of the day (Country Rebel). The song’s earnest growl, driving piano-based arrangement and on-topic lyrics bring home the track’s timely message (Parade).