Three days after the Blackfeet Nation brought a federal lawsuit against Pondera County arguing that the county was violating the voting rights of tribal members, Pondera County has agreed to make changes to make voting more accessible. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Billings.
“Pondera County was glad to cooperate with these advocacy groups to find a cooperative solution to difficult voting issues during these unprecedented times,” stated Rosanne S. Balasabas, Ponder County Attorney. “Pondera County will continue to do its best to make voting as accessible as possible for all of our citizens.”
“Forcing Blackfeet voters to travel to Conrad for the only in-person voting option was not reasonable, was an assault on tribal members’ right to vote, and would have disenfranchised an entire tribal community,” said Alex Rate, legal director, ACLU of Montana.
As part of the settlement, Pondera County agreed to open a satellite voting office in Heart Butte with the following hours:
•Satellite Election Office, Heart Butte High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
•Drop Box, Heart Butte High School, Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Satellite Election Office was also open on Monday, Oct. 13.