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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.”

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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.

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