South Dakota House Bars Tribal IDs for Voter Registration

AP,  February 7, 2020

On Thursday, the House considered an amendment to a voter registration bill that would have allowed tribal IDs to be used for voter registration, alongside state drivers' and nondrivers' licenses and social security numbers. Republicans defeated the measure, arguing that the secretary of state could not verify the information on the IDs, which are issued by the tribes. They were also concerned that not every tribal ID provides an address, which could allow people who live outside the state to vote in South Dakota elections.

Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, a Mission Democrat who is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said tribes in the state have improved the quality of their IDs in recent years. They now include addresses, holographics and other security measures. They are recognized by federal agencies and can be used to take flights.

Standards for IDs and membership vary from tribe to tribe, said Rep. Tamara St. John, a Sisseton Republican who is a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe. She opposed the amendment but called for a measure similar to Washington's Native American Voting Rights Act that would comprehensively address the issue.

By Stephen Groves

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