Call By State Dems and OST For Early Voting Venue Change Denied

Oct 27, 2016

Credit Kent Osborne / SDPB

The SuAnne Big Crow center will remain the early voting location just outside of the village of Pine Ridge.

The state Democratic Party and some tribal officials asked county and state authorities to relocate the voting site due to road construction and a recent homicide that happened in the parking lot of the center.

The Oglala Lakota County commission voted unanimously to reject a request to move early voting out of the SuAnne Big Crow center.

State Democrats called for a change of venue. They say there’s a two thirds decrease in early voting from 2014, which was a mid-term election with traditionally lower turnout

Wendell Yellow Bull is an Oglala Lakota County Commissioner

He says the commission voted to keep early voting at the SuAnne Big Crow center since the election is less than two weeks away…

“We figured ‘Well, we’ve been advertising the SuAnne Center as early voting, so, if we change in the midst of already advertising I guess we would confuse a lot of the voters,’" Yellow Bull says. "So, since they’re kind of getting use to the place, I think what we need to do is continue with it.”

Yellow Bull says the commission discussed the homicide that took place. He says the commission made their decision was made while trying to be respectful to the family.

Fall River County Auditor Sue Ganje oversees Oglala Lakota County elections. She  says she supports the commission’s decision to keep early voting at the SuAnne center.

"We just went through the different options and where they were at," Ganje says. "Obviously I was hoping to stay there just because we’ve got so many notices out. We’ve got our phone number down there. We’ve got a lot into where we’re at there. But in the end it was the county commissioners’ decision and they did vote unanimously to keep it, so I was pleased with that.”

Ganje says political parties typically provide funding for busses to drive voters to the polls, but she says so far that hasn’t happened this year.

County and tribal officials are working with law enforcement agencies to boost security as Election Day nears.