Tribe seeks legal remedy in polling site dispute

Fort Totten, North Dakota (AP) October 2010

The Spirit Lake tribe is asking a federal court to stop Benson County from closing voting sites on its reservation during the November election.

The county has decided to have only one polling site to see if mail voting will increase voter turnout and save money. The lone site will be at the courthouse in Minnewaukan.

Tribal leaders say they unsuccessfully offered to help with the costs of reservation polling sites. North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan also has unsuccessfully lobbied the county to have a reservation site.

Tribal Chairwoman Myra Pearson says having no reservation sites will hurt Indian voting.

County Auditor Bonnie Erickson has said the reservation was not singled out - that other areas of the county also will not have polling sites. Having only one site in a county conforms with state law.