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Published October 21, 2010, 07:20 PM

Judge: Benson County Must Open Polls In Fort Totten and Warwick

Thursday Judge Ralph Erickson has ruled that Benson County must open polling places in Fort Totten and Warwick, ND in the upcoming November 2 election.

Thursday Judge Ralph Erickson has ruled that Benson County must open polling places in Fort Totten and Warwick, ND in the upcoming November 2 election. The ruling does not affect other polling places closed by the Benson County Commission in an effort to save the county costs.

The county decided to have only one polling site to see if mail-in voting would increase voter turnout and save money. The tribe took the case

to court, arguing that the decision continues a "history of official racial discrimination in voting."

Erickson's ruling, released Thursday, also states that the voting dispute in Benson County involving an American Indian reservation is "not a case of overt racism."

Erickson said in court that the issue is whether the county's decision restricts anyone's right to vote.

The county is also closing four other polling sites not on the reservation. A polling site near the reservation but not on tribal land in Oberon, North Dakota will not be forced to open by the court's ruling.

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