Today's Date: August 7, 2022
Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Canada-Quebec Asymmetrical Agreement on the Canada-Wide Early Learnin   •   Mogul Launches Nationwide Campaign Called “Build Better Boards” to Champion More Diverse Boards   •   Government of Canada honours national historic significance of Second World War code breakers   •   GovX Raises Over $11,000 for FOLDS OF HONOR Veteran Nonprofit for Month of July   •   Test Release special characters in the headline © ® ™ é ñ ü ç î ò   •   “What I Want to Know with Kevin P. Chavous” Podcast Launches Third Season in Search of Answers to Education’s   •   LIBERTY Dental Plan of New York Awards 12 Scholarships in Partnership with PENCIL   •   Test Release special characters in the headline © ® ™ é ñ ü ç î ò   •   LIBERTY Dental Plan of New York Awards 12 Scholarships in Partnership with PENCIL   •   Greenwood and Travis Hunter Sign NIL Deal and Partner to Launch the “Choose Black” Campaign   •   Poll: Over Half of Voters of Color Oppose Government Negotiation of Drug Prices Once They Learn About Consequences for Patients   •   Greenwood and Travis Hunter Sign NIL Deal and Partner to Launch the “Choose Black” Campaign   •   BYRON ALLEN'S ALLEN MEDIA GROUP SIGNS VETERAN NEWS & POLITICAL TELEVISION HOST MARC LAMONT HILL TO THE GRIO   •   The Mission and Legacy of The Caroline School   •   Mogul Launches Nationwide Campaign Called “Build Better Boards” to Champion More Diverse Boards   •   Greenberg Traurig Vice Chair Lori G. Cohen Named to Benchmark Litigation's 2022 Top 10 Women in Litigation List   •   Indigenous Services Canada COVID-19 monthly update - August 2022   •   Los Angeles City Council Votes NO on SB 930 - the 4 a.m. Bar Bill, Sends Strong Message to Sacramento and Senator Wiener that Pu   •   Who's Next? Black Women's Health Imperative Urges Voters to Affirm Abortion Rights in Wake of Kansas Abortion-Referendum   •   The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, will be traveling to the North through August 8 to 19, 2022

Notice: Undefined index: currentSection in /home/blackradionetwork/public_html/page.php on line 176
Bookmark and Share

ACLU Challenges Illegal Disfranchisement of American Indian Voters In South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, SD -  The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amended class action lawsuit in federal court to restore the voting rights of American Indians who were illegally disfranchised in the 2008 presidential election. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of South Dakota on behalf of Kim Colhoff, Eileen Janis and others, who attempted to vote in the election but were improperly removed from the voter rolls due to felony convictions. Because state law only disfranchises individuals sentenced to prison and both women were just sentenced to probation, election officials unlawfully took away their voting rights.


"Felony disfranchisement laws in South Dakota have a disproportionate impact on American Indians, who represent the majority of those convicted of felonies at the federal level," said Robert Doody, Executive Director of the ACLU, South Dakota Chapter. "Worse still, it's clear that confusion regarding the South Dakota felony disfranchisement laws has resulted in legitimate voters, even those who haven't been incarcerated for felony convictions, being purged from the rolls or denied the ability to register to vote or cast their ballots."

The lawsuit charges that South Dakota officials' illegal disfranchisement of individuals with felony convictions has had a disproportionate and negative impact on American Indian voters who are overly represented in South Dakota's criminal justice system. The lawsuit also contends that the removal of individuals' names from the state and county voter registration lists based on felony convictions for which they were sentenced only to probation violates their rights to equal protection and due process under the federal and state constitutions, the Help America Vote Act, the National Voter Registration Act and Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit names Secretary of State Chris Nelson, Shannon County Auditor Sue Ganje and members of the state board of elections as defendants. 

The ACLU originally filed the lawsuit in February 2009 on behalf of Colhoff and Janis. The amended lawsuit filed today represents a class of individuals in South Dakota with felony convictions who were denied the right to vote despite the fact that they were never incarcerated.

Colhoff and Janis, both residents of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, registered to vote for the first time in 1974 and 1984, respectively, and remained on the voter rolls until early 2008, after they were each convicted of a felony offense and sentenced to five years probation but no jail time. Despite the fact that South Dakota only disfranchises those sentenced to prison, Colhoff and Janis were removed from the voter rolls without any notice and denied the right to vote at their polling places when they attempted to vote in the 2008 presidential election. In front of several other voters, election officials refused to allow Janis to cast either a regular or provisional ballot.

"I will never get the chance to go back and make my voice heard," said Janis. "It deeply disturbs me that my right to vote was taken away because of administrative incompetence. No one should be denied a ballot just because election workers don't understand the rules. It's really hard not feeling like a second-class citizen when one of my most fundamental rights has been stolen from me." 

"What happened to our clients represents the tragedy that occurs when election officials do not know how to administer the law," said Nancy Abudu, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. "Not only did election administrators take away their constitutional rights, but they robbed them of the opportunity to participate in this historic election."

Attorneys on this case are Abudu, Bryan Sells and Laughlin McDonald of the ACLU Voting Rights Project; Doody of the ACLU, South Dakota Chapter; and cooperating attorney Patrick Duffy.

A copy of today's proposed second amended complaint in Janis v. Nelson is available at: www.aclu.org/racial-justice-voting-rights/janis-v-nelson-second-amended-complaint-pending-court-approval-requesti

An ACLU report providing a historical overview of systemic discrimination against American Indians, limiting their ability to participate in local, state and national elections, can be found at: www.aclu.org/votingrights/minority/41203pub20090930.html 

More information about the ACLU Voting Rights Project is available at:www.votingrights.org

###

The ACLU conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

CONTACT: ACLU
Maria Archuleta, ACLU national, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org
Robert Doody, ACLU of South Dakota, (605) 332-2508


STORY TAGS: aclu, challenge, illegal disenfranchisement, american, native, indian, voters, voting, vote, voted, south dakota, felony, convictions, conviction, controversy, minority news, black radio network



Back to top
| Back to home page
Video

White House Live Stream
LIVE VIDEO EVERY SATURDAY
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Video

LIVE BROADCASTS
Sounds Make the News ®
WAOK-Urban
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
KPFA-Progressive
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
WVON-Urban
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
WADO-Spanish
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
WOL-Urban
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News