Republicans Don’t Want Indians to Vote In South Dakota
This comes from the Indigenous Democratic Network (INDN):
One of the most fundamental rights an American has is the right to vote. Our vote allows us to impact policy and ensure our voices are heard. One of the core missions of INDN's List is to increase Indian votes in order to ensure our voices are heard. Republicans in South Dakota are actively working to keep Indians from voting so they can unfairly influence elections and silence our voices.
Since our founding, INDN's List has successfully worked to train, fund and ultimately elect Indian candidates in South Dakota including Representative Kevin Killer and Representative Ed Iron Cloud, III. This cycle, in South Dakota, we are excited by many Indian candidates including a woman running for the State Senate and even a candidate running statewide for the Commissioner of School and Public Lands office...
Our motto is "When Indians Vote, America Wins." When you read the astounding statistics below, you will see that When Indians Vote, Democrats Win! And, we know that when Indians are on the ballot, the Indian Vote increases exponentially. It’s no wonder that the GOP wants to shut down the Indian Vote!
As importantly, we need to ensure Republicans cannot suppress American Indian votes and steal these elections. State Senator Ben Nesselhuf, a candidate for Secretary of State has released the following statement and rather than summarize it we feel it’s so important that we need to reprint it in its entirety:
I have served in the state legislature for the past 10 years. After a decade, you would think that I have seen every outrageous act and viewpoint imaginable. Or at least, that is what I thought. Then I started looking at the changes that were made to the voting process in South Dakota in the past few years and how that impacted our Native American population. I was appalled.
In South Dakota we have 66 counties. In 64 of them the voters have 6 weeks of no excuse, early access voting. This means that I can walk the 7 blocks to my county auditor, walk in and vote a full 30 business days before the election. I don ‘t need a reason other than I want to vote early.
There are 2 counties where there is no access to early voting within the county. These 2 are Shannon and Todd counties. Both of these counties are entirely within Indian reservations. This represents almost 24,000 people, over 90% of which are Native American. They have a very high democrat performance. In fact, in the past 2 presidential elections, Shannon County had a higher percentage of democrat votes than any other county in the United States.
The people in these counties are being systematically disenfranchised by a Secretary of State (who is termed out and just lost a primary for congress) that doesn’t seem to want to fix the problem. The Help America Vote Act has provided $130,000 to the State of South Dakota to alleviate this problem. These funds can only be used to help the people in these two counties vote. Not one dime of it has been spent and nothing has been done.
Shannon and Todd are 2 of the 5 poorest counties in the United States. The way they are being treated is shameful and, I believe, a violation of the Voter Rights Act. As the next Secretary of State of South Dakota, I will ensure that the thousands of Native Americans on these reservations are given the same access to the ballot as all of the other people in South Dakota. They deserve no less.
Please join us in supporting Senator Ben Nesselhuf's race for Secretary of State. Although INDN's List cannot endorse him, since he's not a member of a federally recognized tribe, we can certainly recognize him for standing up for us and fighting alongside us.
With truly fair elections, we can win in South Dakota with the amazing Indian candidates we have running. We look forward to introducing you to each of them as November comes closer.
President, INDN's List
* "Thank You," in Choctaw.
PS: For more information check out the segment entitled "Voter Suppression on Indian Reservations" from South Dakota Public Broadcasting that aired on November 19, 2008!
You can help INDN elect Native American Democrats to office by clicking here.
Ben Nesselhuf has also been endorsed by the Secretary of State Project, and here is what they have to say about him:
Ben Nesselhuf, candidate in South Dakota
Ben Nesselhuf is running to for an open seat to replace republican Secretary of State Chris Nelson. Nesselhuf has had a distinguished legislative career in the South Dakota House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he sponsored numerous bills around campaign finance reform. Over his five terms he has served on the Health and Human Services, Commerce, Taxation, Education and State Affairs committees.
Please help elect Ben Nesselhuf so South Dakota can have fair and honest elections. And please help INDN elect Native Americans to office to give more of a voice to one of America's most discriminated against minority.