U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) issued the following statement Friday regarding the U.S. District Court's decision on the Spirit Lake Reservation polling site issue. Dorgan chairs the Senate's Committee on Indian Affairs.
TEXT OF STATEMENT FROM
U.S. SENATOR BYRON DORGAN
"I applaud yesterday's ruling by Judge Ralph Erickson that ordered the opening of two polling locations on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Judge Erickson did the right thing.
"I felt that the previous decision by the Benson County Commission to close long-established polling sites on the Spirit Lake Reservation would disenfranchise many of our state's Native American voters.
"That's why I put pressure on those commissioners to open a site. I also recently asked the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the matter.
"Unfortunately, this issue is not exclusive to just Benson County. There will be 33 percent fewer polling sites this Election Day in North Dakota compared to Election Day in 2006.
"It's my view that no one in our state should be making it harder for people to vote. I support voting by mail, but it should not be a reason to shut down polling locations on Election Day. I urge state leaders to address this during next year's legislative session."