Editorial: Natives taking part in political process

"Historically, Native Americans haven't participated in mainstream elections in any great numbers. Some don't recognize nontribal governments. Some simply are angry and opt out of elections. Some are poor and have difficulty getting to the polls.

That could be changing, although it's too early to tell. Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson's 524-vote win over Republican John Thune in 2002 is considered a watershed, with huge increases in reservation voter turnout - up 20 percent or more from the past:

# 44.6 percent in Shannon County (Pine Ridge reservation).

# 51.8 percent in Todd County (Rosebud reservation).

# 56.7 percent in Dewey County (Cheyenne River reservation).

Turnout in the last Senate election, when Thune beat longtime Sen. Tom Daschle, wasn't as dramatic, so it's not at all certain we've turned a corner."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Elections affect us all (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 8/9)

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