Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth digs Indian voting rights. He does not dig Jackson County’s effort to stifle Indian voting rights on Minnehaha County taxpayers’ dime. Commission Barth says Jackson County should stop burning up money from the statewide local government insurance pool to fight a Lakota lawsuit seeking a satellite early voting station in Wanblee:
Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth said “what’s going on is wasting the funds accrued by the assurance association, and that’s not good for Minnehaha County or Minnehaha County residents.”
“We need those funds to protect us, when we go to court on those kinds of issues, and the idea that someone would wantonly crash their car, or go into a lawsuit they are not going to win, and eventually going to have to pay out millions of dollars, it bothers me,” Barth said.
Barth believes what’s best for Minnehaha County could also be best for Jackson County.
“I’d like to see Jackson County stop their lawsuit, use federal funds to help Native Americans vote, there is no cost to Jackson County, to go ahead and do that,” Barth said [Mark Roper, “Absentee Ballot Lawsuit Could Cost Minnehaha County Taxpayers,” KSFY-TV, 2015.08.18].
Barth spoke up against the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance’s participation in an effort to shake down victorious Lakota plaintiffs in Brooks v. Gant, another Indian voting rights lawsuit. More county commissioners and other local officials around South Dakota should take up Barth’s call for Jackson County to pull the plug on its resistance to Indian voting rights, not just because it would save us all money, but because offering our Lakota neighbors equal access to the polls is the right thing to do.