Minnehaha County commissioners Tuesday received a second visit from a voting rights activist who wants the commission to censure the county’s insurance cooperative. Bret Healy, consultant for the Four Directions voting rights group, reiterated a request that the county formally express its disapproval of the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance seeking to recover costs from plaintiffs in a federal voting rights lawsuit against the state and Shannon and Fall River counties. U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier dismissed the suit after the state and counties agreed to use federal Help America Vote Act funds to set up satellite voting on the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Pine Ridge reservation.
The alliance, though, has asked Schreier to order the 25 Oglala Sioux tribal members who brought the suit to reimburse the insurance cooperative for its costs defending the state and counties.
Minnehaha County is among the largest of about 400 public bodies that make up the alliance, and Four Directions officials want the county to use its stature to disapprove any cost recovery effort.
Commission Chairman Gerald Beninga declined to act on Semans’ original request. He told Four Directions the commission does not know whether it has legal standing to comment on litigation to which it was not a party.