Federal Judge Denies Satellite Voting For Native Americans on Remote Reservations

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A federal judge has denied an emergency order sought by a group of American Indians looking for satellite voting accommodations since they live in extremely remote sections of Montana.

The Native Americans from the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations say they must travel more than 120 miles roundtrip to vote at the nearest polling place, in Chinnok, Mont.

But the Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull said regardless of whether voting discrimination exists, the plaintiffs did not show they were unable to vote for the candidates of their choice.

"I'm not arguing that the opportunity is equal for Indian persons as it is to non-Indians," Cebull said. "Because of poverty, because of the lack of vehicles and that sort of thing, it's probably not equal. However, you have to prove ... that they can't elect candidates of their choice."

The Native Americans' attorney said there was too little time before the election to appeal Cebull's ruling.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys submitted court filings in support of the Native Americans. Those included a deposition from a University of Wyoming geography professor who said American Indians from the reservations must drive at least twice as far as whites to vote before Election Day.

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