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Opinion
Editorial: Oglala Sioux voters fail to do their part


"Voter turnout is always an important thing in any election, but in the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s secretarial election last week, it was the only thing.

The results of the April 22 election were declared null and void when voter turnout fell below the required 30 percent of registered reservation voters. That lack of participation in tribal self-rule cost the OST council and community real progress in improving the ability to govern.

Sadly, if just 18 more people had taken the time to cast their votes, seven of the nine proposed constitutional amendments would have passed. Nearly 2,300 reservation residents registered to vote in the special election, but just 671 people went to the polls on April 22.

We’re disappointed in that outcome, of course. So are many people, on and off the reservation, who wanted to see some much-needed changes in the tribal constitution come to fruition. Among other changes, tribal courts would have been removed from the political control of the tribal council; monthly council meetings, instead of quarterly ones, would have been required and a Bill of Rights for all tribal members would have been written.

The poor turnout, coupled with historically high registration numbers, also confuses us.

Why register to vote for a special election if you don’t intend to vote in it?"

Get the Story:
Editorial: Failure to vote hurts progress (The Rapid City Journal 4/29)

Related Stories:
Turnout too low for Oglala Sioux election (4/24)
Oglala Sioux Tribe holds constitutional election (4/22)