Human rights groups have filed a number of law suites against South Dakota alleging the state has been impeding the right of Native Americans to vote. Reports indicate that many native Americans were unable to vote in the last election due to a number of state practices. For example, administrators asked Native Americans for I.Ds that were not required of other voters. Adding to this, poling stations were often changed at last minute to locations miles away from Indian reservations, which made reaching them, especially for lower income Native Americans incredibly difficult.
The voters rights group Four Directions proposed this week that the state use public funds to allow Native Americans a 46 day grace period to cast their votes. This would allow them plenty of time to locate and reach polling stations in their areas. The bill is in the works now and under fierce debate in the local government.
This issue reminds us of the often strained relationship between New Americans and Native Americans. The image below of Penn's Treaty marks a time in which the two groups were able to reach a just compromise regarding the distribution of land and liberty. We can only hope the spirit of this image will endure in the present age.