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Friday, September 24, 2004

Let My People Be  
In an historic victory for voting rights, a federal court today ruled that South Dakota violated the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act when it approved a statewide redistricting plan that dilutes the voting power of Native Americans. The ACLU filed the case on behalf of four Native American voters in December 2001 after the state legislature drew a new legislative district map that packed Native Americans into a single district. "If the state had drawn districts more fairly, Native Americans would have been a majority in two districts instead of a 90 percent supermajority in only one," said Bryan Sells, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, which had challenged the plan. "Redistricting has historically been used to disenfranchise minority voters. Today's decision will help rectify this longstanding problem."