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Pilcher Dissents to Voting Rights Report

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

SD Advisory Committee Recommends Federal Involvement in Local Elections, Removal of Local Law Enforcement at Polling Places

For Immediate Release Contact: Aaron P. Pilcher

HURON, S.D. – On May 8, 2023, the South Dakota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights approved its final report, “Voting Rights and Access in South Dakota.” The report recommends federal oversight of local elections, and the removal of local law enforcement from local polling places. Aaron Pilcher, a committee member from Huron, filed the lone dissent to the report.

“For the last decade or more, we’ve seen a series of sustained federal activities, particularly within the [U.S. Department of Justice], targeting individuals or entities based on political affiliation and not for any legitimate basis,” Pilcher wrote. “On full consideration, I am obliged to ask whether South Dakota can address our concerns without involvement from federal officials. Based on the testimony we heard, I believe we can.”

Pilcher also took issue with the removal of local law enforcement. “We cannot perpetuate distrust between local law enforcement and the Native American community,” Pilcher wrote. “[I]t is unwise to remove local law enforcement from polling places on a misguided belief that doing so will create a newfound confidence in government.”

Note: This does not reflect the views of the South Dakota State Advisory Committe, nor the views of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.


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