Tags: Allegations | Swirl | Over | South | Dakota | Senate | Vote

Allegations Swirl Over South Dakota Senate Vote

Thursday, 14 November 2002 12:00 AM

When the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation returned their votes, the tables were turned and Thune suddenly trailed incumbent Democratic Senator Tim Johnson by 528 votes.

Typically, the Indians on South Dakota's reservations ignore state and federal politics. But a voter registration drive held by the Democrats this year attracted about 4,000 new Indian voters since July, South Dakota's Argus Leader reported this week. This increased Indian voter registration by more than 20 percent over historic averages, according to Johnson's campaign officials.

Unfortunately, these gains were accompanied by allegations of voter registration fraud throughout the state's Indian reservations. Citing a pre-election announcement by South Dakota Attorney General Mark Barnett, the Rapid City Journal reported that the FBI and the state's Division of Criminal Investigation were commencing a probe into allegations of vote fraud in six South Dakota counties.

According to the Journal, on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, irregularities included voters who were deceased, not old enough to vote, or not living at the address on the registration form. Problems were also found in five other locations.

On October 11th, the state Democratic Party fired one contractor, Becky Red Earth-Villeda, who had been hired to register voters in Dewey County, after allegations concerning registration and absentee ballot problems surfaced in Dewey and Ziebach counties.

In Pennington County, one man was arrested for forging voter registration cards, the Journal said. The auditor for Shannon County said that one of every 10 new voter registrations is being investigated. Furthermore, county auditors showed that some people were trying to slip phony voter registration and absentee ballot requests through the system.

Apparently Democrats will do just about anything to avoid defeat.

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When the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation returned their votes, the tables were turned and Thune suddenly trailed incumbent Democratic Senator Tim Johnson by 528 votes. Typically, the Indians on South Dakota's reservations ignore state and federal politics.But a voter...
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2002-00-14
Thursday, 14 November 2002 12:00 AM
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