A voting rights lawsuit from members of three American Indian tribes in Montana will go forward after a federal judge rejected attempts by state and county officials to dismiss the case. Members of the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap tribes want county officials to set up satellite voting offices to make up for the long distances they must travel to reach courthouses for early voting or late registration. Judge Donald Molloy said in a Wednesday order that the plaintiffs’ claims of discrimination are plausible enough that the case should proceed. The 1965 Voting Rights Act prohibited state-sanctioned discrimination against minorities. Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and officials from Blaine, Rosebud and Big Horn counties were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which has been pending since before the 2012 election.
Molloy rejected a claim that there could not have been voting rights violations because members of Indian tribes can and have elected tribal representatives to local and state offices.
That argument was accepted by former U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull as part of his rationale for turning down an injunction sought by the Indian plaintiffs in the lead-up to the 2012 election. But Molloy indicated that the success of some Indian candidates in elections does not exclude the possibility of continued discrimination.
Full Article: Judge: Montana Indian voting case can proceed – SFGate.