Polling Places Removed From Native Reservation

Residents of Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota are protesting the county’s decision to remove three polling places from the tribe’s three precinct vicinity.

The Benson County Board of Commissioners cited the high costs of running the polls and training staff as reasons for their decision. Spirit Lake leaders offered to front the costs for recruiting and training poll workers as well as provide rent-free facilities, but the board declined, saying the costs would still be too high and that mail-in ballots are cheaper.

In a county where Natives account for 50 percent of all voters, this move will most certainly disenfranchise them. With only one poll location in the entire county, they will have to travel further and have a longer waiting time to cast their vote. While mail-in ballots may be cheaper, every voter should have the same methods available to cast their vote as every other voter in the U.S.

The tribe filed a lawsuit against the board earlier this month, but the judicial system will have to act quickly considering Election Day is near.

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has publicly condemned the Benson County Board’s decision, commenting, “I want the U.S. attorney to review with the Justice Department the decision and determine whether there are actions that can be taken to compel the county to have a polling place on the reservation where people can cast their votes…I believe the state should reverse course on these election law changes and find ways to make it easier to vote rather than harder to vote.”



Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Nothing surprises me any more when it comes to acts like these.

shannon b.
S B7 years ago

This makes sense to me. native Americans have their own sentient nations, laws, and governments, and they make it clear that they want to be seen as such. But like most, they want their cake & eat it too. You cannot be/have both.

Beth S.
Beth S7 years ago

Disheartening and in need of immediate correction.

Jose Ramon Fisher Rodrigu

Nice to know that contemporary local politics are 100% free of underhanded manipulation (sarcasm intended).

Nic F.
Nic F.7 years ago

Maybe they're afraid the Injuns won't vote for the white men with forked tongues and who drink a lot of tea!

Ann M.
Ann M7 years ago

Oh, just let the people vote. You took their land. You made them wards of the state. You marched them off to the worst land you could find. Now you take away their polling places?
THIS IS AMERICA!!! I thought that since the civil rights act we could all vote, even little ole Black female me!!!
Then you got mad because they started making money from the casinos and didn't have to include you and began living better than you. So you enacted laws to make them share the money, which incensed them so they closed them, now you get nothing.
So now you want them to 'mail' in their votes (which will probably get lost, or misplaced)?
Being African-American, I realize the necessity of voting. It gives you the right to imagine you are taking part in deciding what happens in America! NOT!!!
Let the people vote, near their homes, on the land you so generously gave them.
You allow the rich to maintain dual citizenship - what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Julie F.
Julie F7 years ago

its amazing how such a basic right (voting) can so easily be limited. i hope they figure out something soon.

Laura Mitchell
Laura Mitchell7 years ago

To Diana S:
Actually, dual nationality is permitted in the United States. "U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship." (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1753.html)

Jo Hofreiter
Jo Hofreiter7 years ago

What crazies, making it even more difficult to vote, instead we should be encouraging them to vote.

Pure digusting.


Allan Y.
.7 years ago

When has America come so low as to make it difficult for peolpe to vote.Sometimes I am so ashamed of this country.