South Dakota Counties no Longer Required to Provide Formal Language Assistance to Monolingual Lakota Voters
In 2002, 18 counties in South Dakota were required to provide bilingual voting materials in English and Lakota, i.e. written material, ballot machine reprogramming and onsite interpreters. In 2010, $2,400 was spent on those resources. However, the number of Lakota speakers who are not skilled in English (or at least, do not have a friend that speaks English to assist them) has dwindled so much the resources were virtually never used, and now, 20 counties in South Dakota are no longer legally obligated to provide them under the Voting Rights Act, which states that language assistance must be provided if by the U.S. Census Bureau over 5% percent of a county’s voting-age population, or more than 10,000 of its voting-age residents, need bilingual materials.
Overall, however, more American Indian languages will be accommodated in many parts of Alaska, Arizona and Mississippi.