|The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.
South Dakota voter lists updated
NCAI urges Native Americans to get out and register to vote
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer
PIERRE - South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says he is updating the state's voter registration list.
Gant says people who have not voted or visited a county auditor to update their registration information in the past four years will get postcards seeking to verify their voter registration.
He says voters who do not respond after two attempts will have their status changed from active to inactive. Their registration will be canceled if they do not vote or update their registration in the next four years.
Gant says the process, which is done every two years, helps clean up the voter registration list. He says it's a way to help fight voter fraud.
South Dakota residents can register, or update their voter registration at the following locations; county auditor's offices; city finance offices; driver's license stations; Public assistance agencies providing food stamps, TANF or WIC; Department of Human Services offices which provide assistance to the disabled; military recruitment offices; or through mail-in registration with cards from the county auditor's office.
You can use this form to register to vote in South Dakota change your registration name or address; change your party affiliation.
Return the form to the county auditor in your county of residence. You will receive a notice from your county auditor that your registration has been received. If you do not receive this notice within 15 days, please contact your county auditor.
The deadline for registration is 15 days before any election. Your card must be received by the auditor by this deadline if you are to vote in the next election.
To register to vote in South Dakota, you must be a United States citizen and reside in South Dakota. In addition, you must be 18 years old on or before the next election; not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction which included imprisonment, served or suspended; in an adult penitentiary system; and not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.
Despite a federal law that granted full citizenship to Native Americans in 1924, South Dakota law barred tribal members from voting until the 1940s.
Eventually the state repealed this law, but still prohibited residents of "unorganized" counties from voting until the 1970s and from holding county office until the 1980s. The majority of those counties were home to the reservations.
About 4.8 million Native Americans lived in the United States in 2010, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.
Native Vote is a national non-partisan effort to mobilize the American Indian and Alaska Native vote, and is an initiative of the National Congress of American Indians.
In the fall of 2012 the National Congress of American Indians launched a national grassroots media campaign alongside leading national Native media organizations to encourage Native people to register to vote. The new campaign titled “Every Native Vote Counts” is part of the organization’s ongoing non-partisan voter outreach effort, Native Vote. With a goal of turning out the largest Native vote in history in 2012 NCAI reached out to members of the media to participate in the campaign and hopes these critical partners are joined by many more in the coming weeks.
“Turning out the largest Native vote in history requires all of Indian country working together and the Native media will play a critical role in reaching our goal. These Native media partners are volunteering the air waves – radio and television, the print media, and the web to send Indian Country an important message, ‘Every Native Vote Counts’,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organization. “We are excited that so many Native media outlets have stepped forward to support this national effort.
But Keel emphasizes that a Native cannot vote in any state or in any election if he or she is not registered to vote. He said they should see to that first so that there will be no question of their eligibility.
Visit www.nativevote.org for more information on the impact of the Native vote on the national, state and local elections.
(Contact Karin Eagle at email@example.com)
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