Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lawsuit Involving Gant Is Dismissed Because Judge Can't Predict Future

Today a federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Jason Gant and the state to provide access to early voting centers in Shannon County for 2020 and beyond.  I have not read the actual judge ruling on the case, but from the description it appears that the judge dismissed the case since she can not predict what the situation will be in 2020.
But Schreier noted that no one knows whether election laws will change by 2020, whether federal funding will continue to be available for the early voting station, or whether Shannon County will continue contracting with Fall River County for election services. In addition, there is no substantial proof of impending harm to Shannon County voters, she said. 
"For the court to adjudicate this claim now would amount to an advisory opinion based on assumptions and speculation," Schreier wrote.
I can understand this ruling.  It actually makes a little sense.  I am sure it will mean that there will be another law suit unless there is either a Democrat elected to Secretary of State or a Republican that doesn't fear allowing the vote to Native Americans.

The ruling does not allow the state to prevent or limit early voting access in the 2014, 2016, or 2018 elections.  It also doesn't settle the issue of expanding early voting access in the other counties that Gant previously said no and then mislead the elections board about the EAC and HAVA funds.

With Gant it seems that the only way to get anything done is to bring up a lawsuit or take it to the federal justice system.  That is exactly what Four Winds has done.  They have registered a complaint with the Justice Department.  (This lawsuit has not been dismissed.)
An organization that asked Secretary of State Jason Gant and the state Board of Elections to approve three early voting satellite offices in Indian Country filed a complaint today with the civil rights division of the Justice Department. 
Four Directions, an advocacy group for Native American voting rights, filed the complaint nearly a week after Gant and the Board of Elections declined to establish early voting offices in Fort Thompson, Eagle Butte and Wanblee. The group contends that residents in the predominantly Native American communities don’t have an equal opportunity to vote or register to vote prior to an election when compared to residents in other parts of the state.
 Gant must still provide access to the early voting in Shannon County for the next three election cycles. Gant may still be required to use the funds to provide access to early voting in the other counties.  Gant is still a disgrace as Secretary of State.

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