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.
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!