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Tue Jul 10, 2012, 10:18 PM

Rapid City Journal: Pine Ridge satellite center lonesome during forced early voting

As lonesome polling places go, it would be difficult to top the satellite voting center on the Pine Ridge reservation during the six weeks leading up to the June 5 primary election.

The voting center in Pine Ridge Village was staffed by two employees from the Fall River County Auditorís Office in Hot Springs, who drove 64 miles each way each day. During six weeks of early voting leading up to the primary, a total of 46 voters showed up at the center.

With 31 actual days of early voting between April 20 and June 5, that figured out to about 1.5 voters per day in an office staffed by two full-time county workers and a language assistant who was available to help Lakota-speaking voters.

The turnout was disappointing to Fall River County Auditor Sue Ganje, who helped establish the voting center after a group of 25 Pine Ridge reservation residents went to federal court to get Shannon County voters the same six weeks of early voting that were provided elsewhere in the state.


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