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National tribal group touts successes of ramped-up voting efforts in Indian Country

Organizers of a massive get-out-the-vote campaign that targeted Native American communities across the country are considering their efforts a success.

The National Congress of American Indians led the push. The group pointed Thursday to U.S. Senate races in Montana and North Dakota, as well as a voter identification ballot initiative in Minnesota, where it says the Native American turnout made a difference. The Minnesota voter ID requirement failed.

NCAI Executive Director Jackie Johnson Pata says the best indicator was the fact that President Barack Obama mentioned Native Americans during his victory speech Tuesday night. She called that a "huge leap" for Indian Country.

It's difficult to say at this point exactly how many American Indians and Alaska Natives showed up to the polls. But NCAI officials say Native Americans in New Mexico and Montana were registered to vote at higher rates than any other racial or ethnic group in those states heading into Election Day.

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