Financially strapped Shannon County will make several sacrifices to cover the costs of the 2012 elections.
The county commission was forced to eliminate several line items from the county budget in order to set aside approximately $43,000 to fund the 2012 election. Only 15 percent of the county, that encompasses the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, generates any property tax revenue, according to Shannon County auditor Sue Ganje.
Commissioners learned last week that the U.S. Department of Justice will require Shannon and Todd counties to provide Lakota language support for voters next year.
Shannon County has a memorandum agreement with the Department of Justice that is still in effect, according to Sarabeth Donovan, deputy chief of the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
That agreement requires the county to provide bilingual voting, including interpretation for voters and Lakota language public service announcements.
A recent determination by the director of the Census that Shannon County does not need to comply with certain sections of the Voting Rights Act does not release the county from that obligation, Donovan told the commissioners last week.
The commission recently received a request for early voting in Pine Ridge from attorney Steven Sandven. Sandven represents a group of 25 Pine Ridge residents.
The commission agreed to provide early voting on six days prior to the June primary and six days prior to the November election in Pine Ridge. Early voting will also be available for Shannon County voters at the Fall River County Courthouse in Hot Springs and via mail.