A group of Native Americans brought forth a lawsuit to make absentee voting more accessible for some in Jackson County. Minnehaha County, like many other counties across the state, pays into an insurance fund in case it gets sued and needs to pay up. Some say the Jackson County lawsuit could cost one of the fund’s largest contributors, which is Minnehaha County. Casting an absentee ballot in person on the Pine Ridge reservation requires voters to go the distance. Up to 30 miles for some. It’s why a group called Four Directions is suing Jackson County to open another voting center closer to home. Four Directions consultant Brett Healy said “it makes it equal for the citizens who live on the Pine Ridge indian reservation, who don’t have perhaps the same level of resources that many of us come to expect.”
… Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth said “what’s going on is wasting the funds accrued by the assurance association, and that’s not good for Minnehaha County or Minnehaha County residents.”
… “I’d like to see Jackson County stop their lawsuit, use federal funds to help Native Americans vote, there is no cost to Jackson County, to go ahead and do that,” Barth said. “It’s very important that that equal opportunity be there, and frankly, it’s what federal law requires, as of the voting rights act, and frankly the 14th Amendment to the Constitution,” Healy said.