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Gant Plays Dumb, Says Voting Access Equal Everywhere in South Dakota

Secretary of State Jason Gant is apparently determined to go out flipping the bird at American Indian voters. Questioned about four Indian voters' lawsuit against Jackson County demanding a satellite early-voting station in Wanblee, Secretary Gant asserts the following:

“We are 100 percent equal across the state,” Gant said Thursday. “Every South Dakota county has at least one location within their county borders where people can absentee vote face-to-face.”

...Residents can now request a voter-registration form at the courthouse or go online and mail it to the county auditor’s office. Monday, Oct. 20, is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election.

Absentee ballots can be requested up to 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. Absentee ballot requests are available online, but they must be notarized before they are mailed to the auditor. Completed ballots can be returned by mail.

“That’s the same as it is in every other county that has a county seat,” Gant said [Andrea Cook, "Jackson County Being Pressured to Open Satellite Office for Voters," Rapid City Journal, 2014.10.12].

Secretary Gant not only speaks falsehood but contradicts the position adopted by the Help America Vote Act task force on which he served last winter, that certain geographic and economic conditions exist which disadvantage American Indian voters and justify the establishment of satellite early voting stations to provide American Indian voters equal opportunity to register to vote and cast early ballots. In May, Gant himself, like every other member of the state Board of Elections, voted for the amendment to the state HAVA plan that recognizes those criteria.

The state HAVA plan cites Jackson, Dewey, and Buffalo counties as places where those criteria for unequal voting access that can be rectified by satellite early voting stations. The Poor Bear et al. v Jackson County complaint offers the specific Census data showing that Indian voters in Wanblee face barriers of poverty, distance, and historical racial discrimination to voting.

Rez Tour 2014 Get-Out-the-Vote bus, headed for Pine Ridge Thursday!
Scariest words in Jason Gant's world: "We're from the Rez, and we vote." Rez Tour 2014 Get-Out-the-Vote bus, headed for Pine Ridge Thursday!

But hey, with Mike Rounds on the ropes, I guess Secretary Gant better make sure he wraps up his disastrous reign over our elections with one more favor to his disappointed Republican friends and keep ballots out of as many Indian hands as he can.

Dustina, Chase, friends, march that Treaty Rights Rally past Secretary Gant's office this noon, then get that Indian get-out-the-vote bus and lots of voter registration cards and ballots down to Wanblee, pronto!


  1. Tim 2014.10.13

    "I guess Secretary Gant better make sure he wraps up his disastrous reign over our elections with one more favor to his disappointed Republican friends and keep ballots out of as many Indian hands as he can."
    I get so tired of republicans taking care of republicans at everybody else's expense in this state. When will the majority get sick of it as well?

  2. JeniW 2014.10.13

    It is not us that has to be convinced, it has to be the Republicans who are remaining silent who need to be convinced.

    Question is, how to convince them that changes are needed?

  3. oldguy 2014.10.13

    I don't think Grant is playing dumb I think he is. I have been told he no longer lives in Pierre and in fact has a office in Sioux Falls and doesn't even come back to Pierre very often.

  4. lesliengland 2014.10.13

    hi doug, i know you are supportive of most dem. values (including thoughts on getting the wanblee vote to kadoka), and i really enjoyed your photos, but i know plenty of oglalas, minnicojous, brule' and hunkpapas et al. that get up earlier than "your sorry ass dragging itself outta bed at 6am", who are up and takin' care o' business by 5:45am, 7 days a week.:)

  5. lesliengland 2014.10.13

    oh, forgot to say they practice traditional indian spiritual/cultural values, morals and ideals. lakota songs, sage, prayer, language and gentle kindness. beautiful, really.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.10.13

    Gant,among others,certainly has the "dumb" part down.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.13

    So, to which campaign did Gant direct those HAVA funds, I doubt that the money is just sitting idle.

  8. Owen reitzel 2014.10.13

    Plays dumb?????

  9. Jenny 2014.10.13

    Does the Weiland camp know how important the Reservation is? Come on, let's pull a 2002!

  10. Jenny 2014.10.13

    Reservation vote is (I meant).

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.13

    Yes they do Jenny, Rick has spent time with the tribes and all South Dakota tribes have endorsed his candidacy. He has taken a good lesson from Senator Johnson.

  12. IWTA 2014.10.13

    Mr. Weiland's claim that all nine Tribes have endorsed him is not true. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with its headquarters on the North Dakota side of the reservation, has not endorsed any candidates in the 2014 South Dakota U.S. Senate race.

    The last time the SRST made an endorsement was in 2012 when the SRST Council endorsed Heidi Heitkamp in the ND U.S. Senate race.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.13

    Interesting, IWTA—is there any organization representing just the South Dakota side of the Standing Rock reservation that might have issued an endorsement?

  14. Paul Seamans 2014.10.14

    The Statewide Rez Tour/Get Out The Native Vote is happening now. The tour started yesterday with a rally at the State Capitol and resumes today with stops at Ft. Thompson and Lower Brule, tomorrow they will be on the Cheyenne River and the Standing Rock. They will visit all nine South Dakota reservations this week. Follow on facebook @GP NativeVote

  15. jerry 2014.10.14

    Mr. Seamans, what do you know about Rounds being dis invited to Rosebud? Is that true?

  16. Paul Seamans 2014.10.14

    Jerry, at this time I have not heard anything on that from Rosebud friends but it is a good possibility because of Mike's backing of the KXL.

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