Push for greater Native voting access could impact governor race
November 1, 2022
A recent court ruling that found South Dakota violated federal voting registration laws has reignited the long-standing concern over Native American ballot access as the state braces for a 2022 gubernatorial election that could hinge on Indian Country precincts.
In a state with nearly 78,000 Indigenous residents, comprising 8.8 percent of the population, advocates of greater Native enfranchisement have worked to enlist new voters in areas such as the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations that lean left-of-center politically.
“If we start voting, we’re going to be respected,” said Chase Iron Eyes of the Lakota People’s Law Project, whose group held an Oceti Vote Fest in Rapid City on Oct. 22-23 featuring a basketball tournament and concert, with staffers on hand to help people with registration forms. “If we don’t vote, we don’t matter.”