Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Monday, August 22
 
Native Americans and the Voting Rights Act
Among the most significant but less examined contemporary applications of the Voting Rights Act is in places where Native Americans claim that their voting strength has been diluted. On Friday, the ACLU announced that a federal district court had issued a final ruling which requires the redrawing of district lines to prevent the dilution of Native Americans' voting strength in South Dakota. The court's ruling in Bone Shirt v. Hazelton may be found here.

The court in that case had previously concluded that the state had violated both section 2 and section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The latest order is in response to the state legislature's refusal to craft a remedial plan. Information about this and other recent VRA developments is available on the "Resources" page of the ACLU's recently created votingrights.org site.

Documenting voting discrimination against Native Americans, both historic and ongoing, will be essential in the coming fight over reauthorization -- perhaps most importantly, in building a record that will allow the Act to be upheld in the courts, in the judicial battle that is certain to follow the one in Congress.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University