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Yesterday evening, I wrote about the South Dakota Republican Party's latest attempt to suppress the Native American vote in the upcoming election.

This is nothing new; they've been following this particular page of the Karl Rove Playbook for years.  What is new this time is the mechanism they've chosen:  They're attempting to stop tribal "feeds" - potluck-style dinners put on jointly by tribal councils and the South Dakota Democratic Party to ameliorate the effects of an all-day trip on tribal members and their families.

Yesterday's diary discussed the cultural role of feeds in Native traditions, including their purposes and how they work, and their purpose in the context of GOTV efforts.  Today, I'm going to provide a full contact list for the elected officials we need to contact to put a stop to this latest attempt to deny Indians - and Democrats - the right to vote.

MAJOR UPDATE:  Via South Dakota Kossack meralda comes good news:

Thanks for posting this information. This problem got fixed at the last minute, but they still only got 22 days of early voting compared to the rest of the state which has it for six weeks before the election.  Depends on where you live.

Shannon County the home of Pine Ridge and the Badlands Natl Park, has set up an absentee voting site in Pine Ridge, saving voters a 128-mile round trip to Hot Springs where they would have had to vote otherwise.

Details at the linked comment.  

However . . . this is only an early skirmish.  There'll be much more to come between now and 11/02, to say nothing of future elections.  I still think a campaign of calls and e-mails tomorrow will have a great deal of value in terms of putting officials on notice that we're watching, and if they try any more shenanigans, we'll be ready.

UPDATE:  I have a special request from fellow Kossack and NAN member DaNang65.  If you write a letter to the editor on this issue, please post it as a diary here at DK and tag it "LTE."  Kossack angelajean collects Kossack LTEs in a series, "This Week in Letters," and it would make her job vastly easier if each of us did so.


Here's a quick summary from last night's diary:

They want to stop the feeds.


Attorney General Marty Jackley and U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson on Thursday affirmed an earlier opinion that political campaigns can't offer incentives, including food, to encourage people to vote.

But their opinion, which was sent to the state Republican and Democratic parties, did not specifically say whether early-vote "feeds" held by the Democratic Party on three reservations this week violated the law.

The opinion from Jackley and Johnson came hours after the state Republican Party asked them to investigate whether Democrats were breaking state and federal law by hosting the feeds. One rally took place Tuesday at Pine Ridge, and two others were planned for Thursday on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek reservations.

Now, first of all, there's no requirement that anyone vote, much less than anyone vote for a particular party or person.  Second, I guarantee you that many of the people eating at these events 1) already are registered and would vote anyway, or 2) are too young to vote in the first place.  But when either registering or casting a vote is going to be an all-day process, folks need to bring their families along - and those families need to eat.

And as usual with the GOP, there's enough hypocrisy floating around to choke a whole stable full of horses:

Democratic officials also pointed out that Republicans have held events in the past that included food. They singled out Sen. John Thune's pancake feeds during his 2004 campaign against former Sen. Tom Daschle. And they highlighted a Sept. 22 rally in Pennington County hosted by GOP gubernatorial candidate Dennis Daugaard and congressional candidate Kristi Noem. The South Dakota Republican Party hosted the event, and it included hot dogs, chips and beverages.

In a statement, Erin McCarrick, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said Republican calls for an investigation were "false and hypocritical allegations designed to suppress voting in Indian Country."

Now, keep in my mind that this is only this year's iteration - and it's only the opening salvo.  We still have a couple of weeks of early voting, plus Election Day itself, and I can pretty much guarantee that there will be more to come.  

Why am I so sure?  Because they've done it before.  Over and over and over again.  Last night's diary details the most recent history of this behavior in South Dakota, and adds examples from reservations in a few other states.  If you're interested in a good summary of the long historical effort to deny Indians the right to vote, I highly recommend Ojibwa's diary, also from last night, Diluting the American Indian Vote (which, by the way, you can still rec!).


The immediate problem in South Dakota is rooted in legislative changes to the election law, courtesy of Rove and his minions in earlier voter suppression efforts.  While the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) provides - in theory - for greater ballot access, in practice, states are given wide latitude to set their own requirements for registration and voting.  In South Dakota, one of those requirements is identification:  At time of registration, a voter is required to show a specific form of photo ID; if the voter doesn't have one of the specified forms, s/he can pay to have the signature notarized. The notaries, of course, are in the county auditors' offices, which are often more than a hundred miles away from most reservation homes.

Oh, and those fees?  Time was, we called that a poll tax.  Time was, it was also blatantly illegal.  In 2010?  I guess IOKIYAR means it's not illegal as long as you can get away with it.

Now, for people living on a reservation where the unemployment rate is 86% and the average annual household income is $3,750 (yes, you read that correctly), paying a fee to a notary may be impossible.  Even paying the fee for a state photo ID may be impossible.  And, of course, it's often equally impossible to make a 200+-mile round trip when you don't have gas money - or even a car.


One of the things we need to do is push to get rid of the damn poll tax. But that's a longer-haul process.  Immediately, we need to ensure 1) that the GOP is neither enabled nor successful in its latest voter suppression schemes; 2) that South Dakota Indians are able to register and vote (registration ends this Tuesday); and 3) that folks who need transportation to and from their homes on the rez get it, for registration and early voting, but especially on Election Day.

Item #3 is in the works; if you're able to help with transportation, drop me an e-mail (addy's in my profile) and I'll connect you with other folks.  Every Kossack can help with regard to items #1 and #2.  What follows are detailed contact lists of relevant officials at the federal, state, and local levels.  Please call tomorrow, or e-mail (tonight, even - that way it's waiting for them bright and early tomorrow morning).  Remind our elected officials that they work for ALL of us, including First Americans, and that this country will not permit any political party or other entity to suppress Native Americans' votes.  Demand a commitment to enforcing HAVA and to providing unfettered ballot access.  And demand an end to meddling in Native cultural traditions.

Two notes:  First, I also have a much longer list for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that includes each member's local offices' contact information.  If you want that list, e-mail me, and I'll send it as a Word doc.  Second, I'm including lists of national media contact info here; it can't hurt to shoot off a few letters to the editor or tips to broadcast media tip lines.

Herewith, the contact lists:


President Barack H. Obama
Web contact form

Vice President Joseph Biden
Web contact form

Kimberly Teehee (Cherokee Nation), President Obama's Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs.  No direct number available; call the White House switchboard,  202.456.1414, during regular business hours, to be connected (reports to M. Barnes, below).

Melody Barnes
Domestic Policy Adviser and Director, Domestic Policy Council
No direct number available; call the White House switchboard,  202.456.1414, during regular business hours, to be connected.


Eric Holder
Attorney General
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Department of Justice Main Switchboard:  202.514.2000
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line:  202.353.1555

Civil Rights Division
Assistant Attorney General:  202.514.2151
Voting Section:  202.307.2767

Office of Tribal Justice
Director:  202.514.8812
Deputy Director:  202.514.8812

Brendan V. Johnson
U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota

Aberdeen Office:
102 S.E. 4th
Room 312
Aberdeen, SD  57402
Phone:  605.226.7264

Pierre Office:
P.O. Box 7240
Pierre, SD  57501
Phone:  605.224.5402
TTY Phone:  605-224-4573

Rapid City Office:
201 Federal Building
515 Ninth St.
Rapid City, SD  57701
Phone:  605.342.7822
TTY Phone:  605.341.6064

Sioux Falls Office:
P.O. Box 2638
Sioux Falls, SD  57101-2638
Phone:  605.330.4400
TTY Phone:  605-330-4403


Main Committee Contact:

Committee on Indian Affairs
Allison Binney, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
United States Senate
838 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone:  (202) 224-2251


Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair
Washington, D.C. Office:
322 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone (202) 224-2551
Fax (202) 224-1193

John Barasso (R-WY), Vice Chair

Washington, D.C. Office:
307 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-6441
Fax: 202-224-1724
Tollfree: 866-235-9553

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Telephone: (202) 224-6361
Fax: (202) 224-2126

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Washington, D.C. Office:
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-228-0514 - FAX
202-224-8273 - TDD

Toll-Free Number for State Offices:

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Washington D.C. Office:
172 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-5754
Fax: 202-224-6008

Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Washington, D.C. Office:

530 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3403
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776

Toll-free Phone: 1-800-223-4457

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Washington, D.C. Office:
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6142
Fax: (202) 228-1375

Al Franken (D-MN

Washington, D.C. Office:
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-5641

Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:
722 Hart Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1102
Phone: 202-224-3934
Fax: 202-224-6747

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Washington, D.C. Office:
404 Russell Senate Office Building                      
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-4224
Fax: (202) 228-0436
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST

Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Washington, D.C. Office:
136 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510
Phone:  (202) 224-5842
Fax:  (202)228-5765

John McCain (R-AZ)

Washington, D.C. Office:
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-2235
Fax: (202) 228-2862

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Washington, D.C. Office:
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Main: 202-224-6665
Fax: 202-224-5301

Jon Tester (D-MT)

Washington, D.C. Office:
724 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2604
Phone: (202) 224-2644
Fax: (202) 224-8594

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Washington, D.C. Office:
110 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(202) 224-6621



Mike Rounds (R)
Office of the Governor
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
Web contact form

Dennis Daugaard (R)
Lt. Governor
Note:  Daugaard's Web site applet doesn't function properly, so I can't access his contact information.

Marty Jackley (R)
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
1302 E Hwy 14
Suite 1
Pierre SD  57501-8501
Phone:  605.773.3215
TTY:  605.773.6585
Fax:  605.773.4106

Chris Nelson (R)
Secretary of State
Capitol Building
500 East Capitol Avenue, Ste. 204
Pierre SD  57501-5070
Administrative Office:
Phone:  605.773.3537
Fax:  605.773.6580
Elections Division
Phone:  605.773.3537
Fax:  605.773.6580


State Senate

Julie Bartling (D), District 26 (includes Mellette, Todd, & Tripp Counties)
P.O. Box 256
Burke, S.D.  57523-0256

Jim Bradford (R), District 27 (includes Pine Ridge Reservation; Jackson & Shannon Counties)
P.O. Box 690
Pine Ridge, S.D.  57770-0690

Ryan Maher (D), District 28 (includes Cheyenne River Reservation; Dewey & Ziebach Counties)
P.O. Box 237
Isabel, S.D.  57633-0237

State House of Representatives

Larry Lucas (D), District 26A (Rosebud Reservation; Mellette & Todd Counties)
P.O. Box 182
Mission, S.D.  57555-0182

Kim Vanneman (R), District 26B (Rosebud Reservation; Tripp County)
31148 269th St.
Ideal, S.D.  57541

Ed Iron Cloud, III (D), District 27 (Pine Ridge Reservation; Jackson & Shannon Counties)
P.O. Box 172
Porcupine, S.D.  57772
(No phone listed)

Kevin Killer (D), District 27 (Pine Ridge Reservation; Jackson & Shannon Counties)
P.O. Box 322
Pine Ridge, S.D.  57770-0322

Dean Schrempp (D), District 28A (Cheyenne River Reservation; Dewey & Ziebach Counties)
P.O. Box 62
Lantry, S.D.  57636


Dewey County (Cheyenne River)
Robert Berndt, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box 277
County Courthouse
Timber Lake, S.D. 57656-0277
No e-mail address listed

Ziebach County (Cheyenne River)
Clinton Farlee, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box 68
County Courthouse
Dupree, S.D.  57623-0068
Phone: 605.365.5157
Fax: 605.365.5204

Jackson County (Pine Ridge)
Jim Stilwell, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box 280
County Courthouse
Kadoka, S.D.  57543-0280
No e-mail address listed

Shannon County (Pine Ridge)
Connie WhirlWind Horse, County Commission Chair
906 N. River St.
County Courthouse
Hot Springs, S.D.  57747-1309
Fax:  605.745.6835
No e-mail address listed

Mellette County (Rosebud)
Casey Krogman, County Commission Chair
P.O. Box C
County Courthouse
White River, S.D.  57579-0703
No e-mail address listed

Todd County (Rosebud)
Gregg Grimshaw, County Commission Chair
200 E. 3rd. St.
County Courthouse
Winner, S.D.  57580-1806
No e-mail address listed

Tripp County (Rosebud)
Greg English, Commissioner
200 E. 3rd. St.
County Courthouse
Winner, S.D.  57580-1806
E-mail: (Note:  Source does not specify who chairs county commission; Greg English is the only commissioner with a listed e-mail address.)


The New York Times

Letters to the Editor (150 words max):
By e-mail: (in body of e-mail; no attachments)
By fax: (212)556-3622
By snail mail:  
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

OpEds (750 words max):
By e-mail to: (in body of e-mail; no attachments)
By fax to: (212) 556-4100
Or by mail to:
The Op-Ed Page
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

The Washington Post

Letters to the Editor (<200 words max): <br>By e-mail: (in body of e-mail; no attachments)
By snail mail:
Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071

OpEds:  (<800 words max) <br>Use WaPo Web form:
For Sunday "Outlook" section, submit via e-mail:

The Wall Street Journal

Letters to the Editor
By e-mail: (no word count listed; suggest <150)</p>

By e-mail: (no word count listed; suggest <800) </p>

USA Today

Letters to the Editor:  
By e-mail: (<250 words max)</p>

By e-mail: (650-750 words)

The Christian Science Monitor (now Web only)

By e-mail: Attention:  Josh Burek, Opinion Page Editor (<750 words)</p>

No info on LTEs, but shorter version of OpEds are welcomed.


Gannett's list of affiliate newspapers includes papers in 31 states (including the Sioux Falls Argus Leader in S.D.)plus Guam; the Army Times Publishing Company (covering four major branches of the armed services, plus other military and defense news outlets); USA Today; Gannett UK; and other media outlets.  

Click on the link above for a list; then click on the link for the relevant affiliate.  It'll take you to the paper's Web site.  From there, navigate to the "Opinion" section and look for "How to submit . . ." information; or click the "Contact Us" link and find "Letters to the Editor."

The McClatchy Company list of newspapers includes affiliates in 15 states.  Click on the link to go the list; then scroll down and click on the individual paper's link.  From there, navigate to the "Opinion" section and look for "How to submit . . ." information; or click the "Contact Us" link and find "Letters to the Editor."

Wikipedia's list of top U.S. newspapers by circulation
Again, click on the newspaper's link, find its Web site on the Wiki page, click on that link, and navigate to the "Opinion" or "Contact Us" sections.


Note that what coverage does exist has appeared largely in local outlets and/or Native media.  However, it can't hurt to keep the drumbeat going in local media, while we try to get story out on the national stage.  The monodotimes Web site lists local media by state, then by city:  Here's the link for South Dakota.  Scroll down to choose the city you want, then click on that page's links for the actual outlet sites.  Toward the bottom of the page, there are also links to sort state media by popularity, circulation, etc.


ABC News
7 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
Web form links for all major ABC News departments/programs here.

CBS News
CBS Headquarters
51 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6188
Web form link for all major CBS News departments/programs here.

900 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632
United States
CNBC Viewer Services:  1-877-251-5685
Web form link for all major CNBC News departments/programs here.

One CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
Web form link for all major CNN News departments/programs here.
CNN iReport link here.

Main Number: (202) 737-3220
Link for all major C-SPAN News departments/programs here.

FOX News
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036
Link for all major Fox News departments/programs here.
Newsroom e-mail:

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112
Web form link for all major MSNBC News departments/programs here.

NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112
Web form link for all major NBC News departments/programs here (same as MSNBC).

Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
PBS Viewer Services Web form here.
Web links for major PBS departments here.

Chi miigwech.

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An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.


Originally posted to Aji on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 04:47 PM PDT.

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