Saturday, October 1, 2016

I'm Oodham, I Vote - How to Register/Vote*

How to Register to Vote and 10 things you should know about the O'odham Vote

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming General Election is Monday, October 10, 2016
Here are a few really important things to know if you're an O'odham Voter (or if you want to become a voter):


#1. Being registered for Tribal Elections is different from being registered for Pima County Elections (or Pinal/Maricopa County).
Tribal Elections ONLY deals with the Tohono O'odham Government.
Pima County Elections deals with city, state, and federal elections. 
They both require you to register, but they are VERY different processes.
#2.  Are you eligible to vote?
-You need to have been a resident of the county you're registering for at least 29 days.
- Be a United States Citizen
- Be 18 or older ON election day.  If you are turning 18 on November 8, 2016, you're eligible to vote!
-Have not been convicted of a felony or treason, or if you have, had your rights restored. (Read more about this in #6! It's surprising news!)
- You have not been adjudicated an incapacitated person.
#3. You should register to vote where you live/sleep.
You may not necessarily register in the community where you're from. 
For Example: I am from Ku:pk Community, Pisin' Mo'o District but I live in Tucson.
Therefore, I am registered to vote in Tucson. 
It will not effect your Tribal Enrollment in any way.  Registering to vote where you live just makes it easier and more convenient for you to vote.  If you're from Hickiwan, but you live in Baboquivari District, you shouldn't have to drive all the way to Hickiwan to vote.  You should be voting in Baboquivari District, otherwise, you're less likely to vote. 
It is not necessary to give physical directions, but if you know them, of course, you can do that also.  But the easiest way to is to list the community you live in, and the district it's in. 
Example: Topawa, Baboquivari District
And you don't even have to draw on the map.  The community name and district is fine.

#4.  You can check online to see if you're already registered with Pima County.
All you need is some basic information about yourself and the number on your State ID: 
If you're from Pinal County you can call this number: 520-509-3555
If you're from Maricopa County you can call this number: 602-5061511
If you don't feel right about something, register again! It's free, easy and your right!
#5.  You only need to re-register if:
-You have moved/changed your address
-You have legally changed your name
- You want to change your party affiliation
-You have changed your signature
There is no limit on how often you can make changes. It is especially important to keep your mailing address current. 
#6.  If you have been convicted of one felony and only have one charge you are eligible to vote as soon as you have completed your court ordered sentence!
That means, once you've served your time, completed your parole and paid off your fines, you're automatically eligible to vote again!  All you have to do is re-register! 
If you have more than one felony or multiple charges, the process takes a bit longer, but you should still pursue it!  You can read more about this here: 
#7. Where/How to register to vote:
Okay, we convinced you to get registered.  Here's what you can do. 
Register online:
   (It will ask you for your physical address first (you can plug in your community and district) then it
   will give you the option to put in your P.O. Box.
Register in Person on The Nation
   - Tohono O'odham Youth Council, Sells
      (520) 383- 4665
   - Tohono O'odham Community College, Schuk Toak
      (520) 383-8401
      See Gabriella, Daniel or Naomi
   - Baboquivari High School, Topawa
      (520) 383-6800
      See Rebecca Cohen.  (Community Members must check in at the front desk)
Register in town:
   - Any Post Office
   - Any Library
   - Motor Vehicle Division
   - Town Hall
   - County Recorder's Office 

#8. What is Early Voting?

Voting early is about convenience.  Maybe you hate waiting in line or you don't have transportation.  If you already know you'll have a hard time getting to the polls, maybe you're scheduled to be out of town or know your work schedule is unpredictable, early voting may be best for you!

1). Sign up for the Permanent Early Voter List

Every election you will get a ballot mailed to your address.  You will have about two weeks to fill it out and mail it back.  It's easy and convenient. You even get mailed an "I voted early in Pima County" sticker.  If you forget to mail it off by the deadline, don't worry, you can drop it off in-person at any polling site in your county. 

(And if your dog chews it up, or you lose it, just go to a polling place and they'll get you a provisional ballot, so your vote still counts).
2). Show up to an Early Voting Site (with ID) and vote!
The Tohono O'odham Nation will have these sites in the community to allow you to vote early!  You need to be registered and bring your ID like you normally would to vote and cast your ballot! That's it.  The TON will be giving out food, t-shirts and buttons for early voters too, just to encourage people to vote.  ALL registered voters are eligible to do this. 

3). Request a Mail-in Ballot.
This is in case the other two situations don't work for you.  Maybe you're only out of town during this one election, but you love going to the polls, you can just request an early ballot.  You can do this by printing out the form on your county's website and returning it to them, or sometimes you can submit the request by phone.  If you are a student who lives out of state for part of the year, you can vote in your home county by requesting this type of ballot. 
#9. Types of IDs needed.
-The Arizona State ID (Driver's license, permit or state ID) is the best ID to take to the polls.
-Your Tribal ID and one other form of ID, such as the Voter ID card you'll be getting in the mail after you register or a utility bill with your name and address.
-Don't worry if you can't find your Voter ID Card, or if you never get one.  Sometimes they just don't come.  Show up to the polls anyway!
-If those options don't work for you, check out this page for more information on Arizona Voter Identification Options
#10. The Tohono O'odham Nation's "Get Out The Vote" Campaign's tag line is: "Celebrate the Victory, Exercise the Right. 1948-2016, 68 Years Strong."
This refers to the fact that Arizona finally granted Natives the right to vote in 1948!  They passed this legislation after Natives who had served in World War II came home and were denied their right.  This was only of course, if they could read and write in English.
In 1965, with the passing of the Voting Rights Act, all Natives Nationwide were guaranteed the right to vote.  It was no longer up to the individual states to determine whether they would allow Natives to vote.
In 1976, Arizona passed legislation that an interpreter could be used at the polls.   

Help spread the word, take selfies of your voting gear or I Voted Stickers, talk about voting with your families and friends, offer to drive them to the polls! 

Use the hashtags: #ImOodhamIVote and #OodhamVote2016


Still have more questions?  Check out for more information specifically designed for the O'odham Voter.

*O'odham - the correct spelling for some reason triggers an ampersand "&". 

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Crash Course in The World of Chess Parenting

2015-2016 - Tucson - Si:ban played Bughouse Chess.  Ani cried.

2014 - 2015 - Gilbert Si:ban forgot her book.  The reading tournament.

2013-2014 - Flagstaff - We went Sliding Rock State Park.  Eating hummus in the car.

2012- 2013 - Tucson - Ryan couldn't go due to work.

2011 - 2012- Gilbert - 110 degrees out, no AC, no team rooms, Ani Puked

2010- 2011 - Lakeside (Pinetop) - It snowed.

My daughters started learning how to play chess as part of the curriculum at The Montessori Schoolhouse, at the age of nine.  They had mentioned wanting to join the after school "Chess Club", which you had to pay for, but at the time, we were already struggling with after-school pick-ups and making ends meet, so unfortunately, we simply couldn't do it.  

It wasn't until the next school year, when the Chess Instructor/Chess Coach, Josh, flagged us down one day and offered us a half-scholarship for both girls, that we realized that we were holding them back from a great opportunity.  Josh told us that the girls were very interested in chess, that they asked questions and although they had a lot to learn, he could see them working hard to improve and that they listened to what he had to say.  We HAD to make it happen.   

After a few months of attending the after school chess club, we received information about a chess tournament.  

Other than knowing we had to buy them chess boards there, we didn't know what to expect at all.  We showed up to the very first chess tournament with not enough cash, no books to read, no chairs to sit in, no snacks, no pencils, no sunscreen, and no idea what was even going on.  

When we got to the school that was hosting the tournament, we saw prepared parents everywhere.  They had camp chairs, blankets, ice chests, chess boards, hats, sunglasses and some of them even had extension cords for their laptops, which were already out and being worked on.  Chess games were being played on worn chess sets that had already seen a lot of action and you could hear kids and parents talking about strategies and moves in a way that sounded alien. 

The kids were running around wearing chess-themed shirts and some of the parents did too.  A few really intense looking parents wore matching chess shirts with their kids.  

My husband and I had a crash course in learning the language of chess.  We had to learn about "pairings," "rounds," "notation," "review," "clocks," "ratings," "bughouse," etc.  

The thing that surprised me the most was when we helped our daughters find their boards and settle in, an announcement was made for parents to leave the room!  

We had no idea we wouldn't be watching our children actually play chess! 

I felt like we had shown up to a pool party wearing pants.  

I also didn't know it was an all-day event.  I assumed they'd play a few games and then we'd leave.  Instead, we spent an entire day, observing the world of chess enthusiasts and making note of what we'd need for the next tournament.  

Looking back on that rude introduction to chess culture, six years later, now that the world of competitive chess has become part of our normal lives, it's almost comical.  

As devoted chess parents, it was our job as parents to feed and water our children, to give them hugs and high fives when they finished a game and to smile and nod as they explained how they won or why they lost (even if we couldn't understand what they were telling us.) Our job was to remind them to record their games, move by move, and to learn from their mistakes, but not dwell on them.  It was our job to teach them to be gracious winners and to be respectful to their opponents.  

We invested in camp chairs to stay comfortable during the long days.  We learned to pack books and phone chargers to keep ourselves entertained during each round.  Sometimes, my husband would bring a basketball to play around with, if there were basketball courts.  We bought "Chess Mom" and "Chess Dad" shirts and wear them proudly at tournaments.   

We have traveled all over Tucson, Vail, Flagstaff, Pinetop and Gilbert, 

We've seen a lot of families come and go, and still, my daughters have been ready, bright and early (for us) Saturday mornings during the months of September-April, with their chess sets, notation books and a few carefully sharpened pencils, ready to compete.