South Dakota Sioux Tribe File Voting Discrimination Case

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Members of the Oglala Sioux tribe live on the very rural Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, most of whom do not have cars. Traveling during winter months is compounded by infrequently plowed gravel and dirt roads. Given that their county only has six days of early voting in the presidential primaries — while residents in the rest of South Dakota have 46 days to vote — some Ogala have perceived this as discriminatory. 25 tribe members are suing the overseer of the elections, South Dakota secretary of state Jason Gant as well as county officials.

Steven Sandven is the attorney representing the tribal members. Larry Norden is acting director for the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, and co-author of the Center’s recent report entitled “Voting Law Changes in 2012.”