A South Dakota county fighting the voting-rights lawsuit Poor Bear v. Jackson County has asked the court to dismiss it. The November 13 request followed Jackson County striking a deal with South Dakota’s secretary of state and top elections official, Shantel Krebs. The motion to dismiss also followed a missed early-November court deadline, when the county failed to submit an expert report supporting its election procedures. In the agreement with Secretary Krebs, Jackson County consented to spending long-allotted funding to open a satellite registration and absentee-voting office for the next four federal elections in Wanblee, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Jackson County handles elections in this portion of Pine Ridge but has refused to access Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money for a full-service polling place.
Krebs told ICTMN that the limited duration of the pact was a reflection of the state’s limited share of federal HAVA money and an alert to South Dakota counties that they should be prepared to budget for this sort of expense going forward. Because of the deal, the county told the court, no “live case” exists, and Poor Bear should be dismissed.
Not so fast, said plaintiffs’ attorney Matthew Rappold, of Rapid City. “Defendants’ belated and partial attempt to correct their discriminatory conduct will not allow them to avoid examination in open court and oversight by a federal judge and monitor.”
The county’s attempt is “partial” becausePoor Bearasks the court for a permanent federal-elections satellite office, not a temporary one. The plaintiffs also want Jackson County, where Natives couldn’t vote until the 1970s or hold office until the 1980s, to be subject to Justice Department oversight, including federal election monitors and pre-clearance of new voting laws and procedures. Further, plaintiffs want protections for all elections, local and federal.
Full Article: End-Run on Native Rights—Will It Work? – ICTMN.com.