PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s secretary of state and several members of Governor Kristi Noem’s cabinet have agreed to be more diligent in protecting voting rights of Native Americans.
They have reached settlement with several tribal governments and other groups in Rosebud Sioux Tribe et al v. Barnett et al.
“The settlement we negotiated details changes that South Dakota must make to provide the voter registration services guaranteed to each and every voter by federal law,” Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Scott Herman said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol has approved the deal.
The agreement calls for Secretary of State Steve Barnett to have a statewide coordinator to oversee state government’s and county governments’ compliance with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.
The federal law requires driver’s license offices and public assistance agencies to provide voter registration services.
The judge in May had found various violations such as not providing voter registration and not being allowed to vote.
Several state departments — Public Safety, Social Services, and Labor & Regulation — now must continue recent practices that were started this summer.
“This agreement requires South Dakota establish training and accountability mechanisms so voters, including Native voters, actually receive the legally required opportunities to register to vote,” Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer said in a statement.
The settlement calls for state government to pay $625,000 in plaintiffs’ attorney fees.