Hearing Scheduled in Voting-Rights Suit Filed by Dorsey on Behalf of National Congress of American Indians and the Minnesota ACLU.
The international law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court earlier today on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and individual American Indians. The compliant against Secretary Kiffmeyer argues that the state's voter-registration policies discriminate against American Indian voters and are inconsistent with Federal law, including the Help American Vote Act.
According to the Secretary of State's policy, American Indian voters may use tribal IDs to register on election day only if they live on their reservations. For tribal members who live outside reservations, the tribal ID will not be accepted as valid identification. Moreover, the Secretary of State permits voters without Minnesota driver licenses to use other forms of identification, such as student identification cards coupled with utility bills to register to vote, but won't allow Indian voters to use their tribal IDs together with utility bills to register on election day. The NCAI and the ACLU argue that this is a clear violation of the Constitution's First and Fourteenth Amendments, which ensure due process and equal protection under the law.
In the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area alone, as many as 33,000 American Indians live off reservations, and a significant number of them have only tribal IDs. "The Secretary of State draws an arbitrary line between tribal members on the reservation, and those who live elsewhere," said Skip Durocher a member of the Dorsey's Indian and Gaming Law group. "The Secretary has the authority to determine what may be used as identification at Minnesota polling places. It's unfortunate - and the suit maintains unconstitutional - that she has excluded tribal IDs."
About Dorsey & Whitney
Clients have relied on Dorsey since 1912 as a valued, cutting-edge business partner. With nearly 650 lawyers in 19 locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, we provide an integrated, proactive approach to our clients' legal and business needs. Dorsey represents a number of the world's most successful Fortune 500 companies from a variety of disciplines including leaders in the financial services, investment banking, life sciences, securities, technology and energy sectors, as well as nonprofit and government entities.
Dorsey's Indian and Gaming practice group serves both Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, as well as clients doing business with Indian Tribes. The practice group includes tribal and non-tribal members with extensive experience representing Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and business entities.
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|Date:||Oct 28, 2004|
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