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Not only are we keeping Native American South Dakotans from voting early, our county and State governments are trying to keep more of them from voting at all:

Currently before the South Dakota legislature is HB 1247, a bill which will substantially change the voting rights of those with criminal convictions. Currently, under South Dakota Law certain criminal convictions do not result in the removal of the person from the voting rolls.
Full press release below the cruller.

Full press release

CONTACT: ACLU of South Dakota 605-332-2508
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 3, 2012

South Dakota Attacking the Right to Vote Again

Currently before the South Dakota legislature is HB 1247, a bill which will substantially change the voting rights of those with criminal convictions. Currently, under South Dakota Law certain criminal convictions do not result in the removal of the person from the voting rolls. HB 1247 would make it state law that anyone convicted of a felony does not have a right to vote.

Felon voting rights were recently at issue in the ACLU lawsuit, Janis v. Nelson. This suit was brought by the ACLU because the State of South Dakota was illegally removing voters because of felony convictions that did not disqualify them to vote. South Dakota law currently allows those convicted of a felonies who receive sentences that do not involve jail time to vote. HB 1247 would make it so that anyone convicted of a felony could not vote which is a substantial change to current South Dakota law.

“This bill would move South Dakota back decades by denying an entire group of eligible voters the right to vote” said Robert Doody Executive Director of the ACLU of South Dakota. The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights we all have as Americans and any attempt to take away that right is suspect.

“One of the most disturbing parts of this law is how it will negative effect American Indian voters who are disproportionately represented in the South Dakota criminal system. This law taken into the state’s terrible past history of discrimination towards American Indians shows that Jim Crow era suppression of minority voting is alive and well in South Dakota” Doody said.

Felon disenfranchisement laws were intentionally set up in the Deep South to remove African American voters from the voting rolls. This piece of invidious racial discrimination is now being brought to South Dakota to attack American Indian voters.

Originally posted to South Dakota Kos on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 08:19 PM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People and Native American Netroots.

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