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USD Center for Disabilities Aids Voter Participation for American Indians with Disabilities in South Dakota

Jim Warne headshot Jim Warne, Oglala Lakota tribal member and director of community engagement at the Center for Disabilities

VERMILLION, S.D. – The Center for Disabilities at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is partnering with Disability Rights South Dakota and the South Dakota Developmental Disabilities Council to increase the ability of people with disabilities to exercise their voting rights, particularly those residing on tribal lands.

Led by the Center for Disabilities’ Oyate’ Circle, this non-partisan initiative is serving to inform and educate people with disabilities about the process of participating in the voting process, including voter registration, lists of candidates and issues on the ballot, and where/ how to vote.

Additional emphasis will be placed on addressing particular challenges for tribal members with disabilities in rural, remote and reservation communities. Activities include information dissemination, citizen engagement, community events and community partnerships.

“Tribal members with disabilities face many obstacles, including access to voting. Their voices deserve to be heard," said Jim Warne, Oglala Lakota tribal member and director of community engagement at the Center for Disabilities. "This project is focused on our elders and tribal members with disabilities, including families.”


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News