Seeking Equitable Voter Registration in South Dakota


For nearly 30 years, states have been required to provide voter registration to people applying for driver’s license and for people applying for services at public agencies. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Lakota People’s Law Project, and individual voters have filed a lawsuit against South Dakota for failing to offer voter registration services to the public as mandated by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

“The state of South Dakota has no right to silence Native voters by taking away opportunities to register or failing to process their completed voter registrations,” said NARF Staff Attorney Jacqueline De León.

The NVRA requires state public assistance agencies and motor vehicle offices to provide voter registration services when people apply for services, renew eligibility, or provide change-of-address information. Native Americans who completed voter registration forms at state agencies and driver license offices have found the state did not process their registrations or those individuals were never offered an opportunity to register to vote.

“I was denied the opportunity to cast a vote in the 2020 presidential election because the public agency didn’t update my address,” said plaintiff Kimberly Dillon (Rosebud Sioux Tribe).
The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and Demos represent the tribal governments, voting rights organization, and individual voters in Rosebud Sioux Tribe et al v. Steve Barnett et al.
“We must hold the state accountable to upholding the National Voter Registration Act,” said NARF Staff Attorney Samantha Kelty.

Read more about: Rosebud Sioux Tribe et al v. Barnett et al

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