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Published June 12, 2012, 05:43 PM

Fort Totten Voter Turnout Low Despite Fighting Sioux Measure

FORT TOTTEN, ND (WDAZ-TV) - The polls were far from packed in Fort Totten, even though Tuesday's election has a special meaning to some on the Spirit Lake Reservation.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

FORT TOTTEN, ND (WDAZ-TV) - The polls were far from packed in Fort Totten, even though Tuesday's election has a special meaning to some on the Spirit Lake Reservation.

Members of the Spirit Lake tribe were instrumental in putting Measure 4 on the ballot to decide the fate of the Fighting Sioux nickname.

Even though turnout wasn't high, those who did come out say they came for the Fighing Sioux.

There were nearly 50 ballots counted early Tuesday afternoon. Election official Duane Nelson says he doesn't expect to see that number rising too much before polls close.

"In ways, yes, but it doesn't seem to be coming. It might be busier later on in the day. So far, very quiet," Nelson said.

Fort Totten nearly lost its polling place two years ago because of a small turnout, so huge crowds weren't expected. But Measure 4 is what brought voters out on the Reservation today. Robert Old Rock says Measure Four was the only reason he came out to vote.

"To vote for the people who want to keep the Fighting Sioux name," voter Robert Old Rock said.

Old Rock says support for the nickname is nearly universal on the Reservation.

"We were always supportive of the Fighting Sioux name. We never understood why it became an issue 30 years later," Old Rock said.

Voters says they support keeping the name, but Nelson says more people are pleading ignorance than pledging their support for the Sioux.

"No they haven't said why they come. They come in and ask what the election's for," Nelson said.

Election officials said Tuesday's turnout was only a tenth of what is normally seen during a general election, but turnout has been greater than other primary elections, so Measure 4 seems to be drawing at least a little interest.

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