Lower Brule Sioux Tribe v. Lyman County Board of Commissioners

Here is the complaint in Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, et al., v. Lyman County.

And here is the release on the litigation.

“Through this lawsuit we’re insisting Lyman County hold elections with a fairly drawn map in 2022,” said plaintiff, voter, and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Vice Chairman Neil Russell.

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and three enrolled members filed the lawsuit to prevent Lyman County from continuing to violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act until 2026. “Like every other county already using new election district maps adopted after the 2020 Census in 2022, Lyman County must comply with the Voting Rights Act and implement the revised district map immediately,” said Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Staff Attorney Samantha Kelty. “Lyman County cannot continue to disenfranchise voters who live on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation until 2026.”

Supreme Court Decides Brnovich v. DNC (voting rights)

On July 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision in Brnovich v. DNC that upheld two Arizona voting policies that make it harder for people—and especially people of color and Native Americans—to vote.

On March 2, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. The case looks at whether two issues of Arizona voting law—restricting out-of-precinct ballots and ballot collection—violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In 2016, Arizona lawmakers passed laws limiting ballot collection and out-of-precinct voting. Ballot collection is an essential tool that rural Native American communities use to make voting accessible to all eligible voters.

At about 17 minutes into the hearings, Justice Sotomayor addresses the voting burdens in Native communities. The points that Justice Sotomayor raises, echo those found in the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) “friends of the court” amicus brief in the case. NCAI’s brief, which was filed by the Native American Rights Fund in January, explains how American Indian and Alaska Native voters face substantial obstacles and documented discrimination as they try to participate in the American democratic process.

Native Americans are entitled to full access to the political process, but failures rooted in devastating policies and discrimination create needless barriers to the ballot.  Services such as post offices and drivers’ license sites require hours of travel, postal delivery and residential addressing is insufficient or completely absent, poorly maintained dirt roads become impassable during November election season, lack of internet and cell phone coverage abound on reservation, and insufficient economic means and transportation make it impossible to access basic government services. There also have been instances of untrustworthy election officials capitalizing on these inequities to disenfranchise voters and undermine Native American political power.  Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act provides much needed protections against this type of systemic voter disenfranchisement.

Read more about the barriers that Native American voters face in the report, Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters.

Federal Court Holds Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe Has Standing to Bring Voting Rights Act Claims on Behalf of Tribal Citizens

Here are the materials in Spirit Lake Tribe v. Jaeger (D.N.D.):

51 Second Amended Complaint

54 Motion to Dismiss

55 Response

56 Reply

79 DCT Order

Materials in Navajo Nation, et al. v. Reagan – Voting Rights Litigation

Here are the materials in Navajo Nation, et al. v. Reagan, et al. No. CV-18-08329-PCT-DWL (Ariz. D. Ct. 2019).

The Amended Complaint sought:

[D]eclaratory and injunctive relief, compelling the Defendants to (a) allow early voters who do not sign their ballot affidavit to have the same opportunity to cure the ballot deficiency that is provided to voters with a mismatched signature, (b) allow early voters who do not sign their ballot affidavit to have the same chance to cure their ballot as voters who vote by conditional provisional ballots, (c) provide translators certified as proficient in the Navajo language for all future early voting and election-day polling sites, (d) provide translation of instructions for casting an early ballot in Navajo over the radio for the 30 days leading up to an election, (e) establish additional in-person voter registration sites, and (f) establish additional early voting sites on the Reservation for all future elections that are open for consistent hours (at a minimum, each Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. with no interruption during the lunch hour) during the 30 days leading up to the election. This relief is sought on the grounds that failure to provide the requested relief is a denial of the equal right to vote.

The lawsuit was settled, and the Settlements can be seen here:

NARF Press Release on Presidential Commission on Voter Suppression

Saw this coming.



Friday, May 12, 2017

Contacts: Natalie Landreth, NARF Staff Attorney, (907) 276-0680; Matt Campbell, NARF Staff Attorney, (303) 447-8760

President Announces Commission to Investigate American Voters

Yesterday, the President announced the creation of the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity,” a new body intended to investigate American voters for “improper” or “fraudulent” voting.  This is not only an unprecedented attack on the American electorate, it is also completely misleading because there is virtually no voter fraud anywhere in the United States.  Instead, the problems experienced by American voters are long lines, lack of polling places, lack of early voting opportunities, gerrymandered districts, and jurisdictions’ failure to follow voting laws such the Motor Voter bill and the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  These problems are actually increasing in American elections, in large part due to the activities of people newly appointed to the Commission.  Prominent advocates of voter suppression such as Kris Kobach sit on this Commission.

“This Commission is completely backwards; it is not the American people who need to be investigated, it is the jurisdictions using more suppressive tactics to keep citizens from voting,” said Natalie Landreth staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund and voting rights litigator. “Voter suppression is designed by those in power to keep themselves in power. They know as the electorate changes, their power wanes so these tactics are meant to ‘freeze the electorate’ in a way.”

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has litigated voting cases on behalf of American Indians and Alaska Natives since the 1980s, and it currently leads the Native American Voting Rights Coalition, a group of voting rights advocates who work in Indian Country across the United States.  In this capacity, NARF encounters a wide variety of problems faced by American Indian and Alaska Native voters.  These problems are many and widespread, but do not include voter fraud.

“North Dakota is a great example of how this narrative works,” said Staff Attorney Matt Campbell, who currently represents the plaintiffs in Brakebill v. Jaeger. “The state passed the strictest voter identification law in the country on the basis that they wanted to prevent voter fraud, but over the course of the case the state admitted there had never been a single case of fraud in North Dakota. It’s a myth, one designed to keep Native Americans and the elderly from voting.”

“It is ironic that this President purports to investigate election integrity since it is now known that he very likely benefitted from Russian interference in the November 2016 election,” said Landreth. “That is what needs to be investigated, not the American voters. And I want to be very clear about why the President is doing this: he is purporting to create a record that will surely form the basis for nationwide legislation to further suppress voting.”


Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Sues San Juan County over Voting Rights

Here is the complaint in Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission v. San Juan County (D. Utah):

San Juan County Voting Rights – Complaint 2-25 – FINAL