Law | Politics

Stephanie Woodard: Tribal members file suit over early voting





"With control of the U.S. Senate in the balance, a Native American voting rights hearing in U.S. District Court in Billings, Montana, later this week is shaping up to be a riveting spectacle. A surprising array of Democrats and Republicans are ranged against the 16 tribal members who have sued for early-voting offices on their reservations.

“It’s the poorest of the poor versus the billionaires,” said Tom Rodgers, a member the Blackfeet, a Montana tribe.

In late August, Republican powerbroker Karl Rove told a meeting of the country’s super-rich that Montana Democrat Jon Tester’s Senate seat was one of the Republican Party’s best shots at Senate control, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The neck-and-neck race between Tester and Republican challenger U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg was important then. It’s even more so today, now that Missouri appears to be off the Republican list, following remarks about “legitimate rape” by the party’s candidate, Todd Akin.

“Millions are flowing into Montana to influence the Senate race,” said Rodgers, who was the whistleblower in the Jack Abramoff scandal. “And now we have Indians suing for voting rights.”"

Get the Story:
Native Americans Sue over Montana Voting (100 Reporters 10/16)

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Indian voters in Montana seek satellite offices on reservations (10/12)