Nevada Indians Settle Voting Rights Lawsuit

LAS VEGAS (CN) — Members of two rural tribes have settled their voting rights complaint against the Nevada secretary of state and two counties.

Members of the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute tribes filed a federal lawsuit against Washoe County, Mineral County and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske in October last year.

Lead plaintiff Bobby Sanchez, chairman of the Walker River tribe, wanted voter registration sites and polling places on the reservations, pointing out that some residents had to drive as much as 96 miles to vote.

In early October, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du ruled mostly in favor of the tribes, saying the “public interest is serves by the enforcement of the [Voting Rights Act] and the inclusion of protected classes in the political process.”

Du ordered Washoe and Mineral counties to provide early voting sites in Schurz and Nixon, and an in-person ballot site in Nixon on Election Day.

On Friday, Du granted a joint stipulation dismissing the complaint with prejudice, with each side responsible for its own costs and attorney’s fees.

About 2,000 members live on the Pyramid Lake Paiute reservation, on 742 square miles in Washoe County in northwestern Nevada. The 530-square-mile Walker River Paiute reservation is home to 742 tribal members, mostly in Mineral County in central Nevada.