Claremont, California (PRWEB) June 13, 2014
Jean Schroedel, a professor in Claremont Graduate University’s Department of Politics and Economics and a leading expert on Native American voter suppression, is available to comment on this week’s settlement of the “Wandering Medicine” Native American voting rights lawsuit.
Schroedel, who has conducted extensive research into the disenfranchisement of Native Americans across the United States, served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit out of Montana.
The case, Wandering Medicine vs McCulloch (Civil No. 12-135-BLG-DWM), involved Native Americans from three reservations who sued the secretary of state and elections officials in three counties, arguing that the long distances they had to travel to reach election offices effectively denied them the ability to vote.
The lawsuit was settled this week in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals when state and county officials agreed to open satellite election administration offices on the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, and Fort Belknap reservations.
Schroedel’s research into the case showed that travel distance combined with socio-economic factors adversely affected the reservation residents’ participation in in-person absentee voting and in-person late-registration. For many poor residents of the reservations, the costs of traveling to elections offices often meant sacrificing the ability to put food on the table.
“The $10.40 that an Indian in Big Horn County would spend on a trip to the courthouse is the purchasing equivalent of three gallons of milk,” Schroedel said. “The $14.74 travel cost for Indians in Blaine is the purchasing equivalent of four pounds of hamburger, while the $21.02 cost of gasoline for Indians in Rosebud would purchase two regular sized packages of disposable diapers.”
The new satellite offices will greatly decrease these burdens and give residents on the three affected reservations the type of voting access afforded to most other citizens of Montana, she said.
Schroedel’s research has revealed that virtually no attention has been paid to vote dilution and suppression of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, the last group of persons born in the United States to gain citizenship and the franchise. Yet from the late 1970s onward, the native vote has become an important factor in a number of electoral contests, where the margin between victory and defeat has been razor thin.
She is frequently quoted in newspapers and broadcast media as an academic expert on political issues involving women, children, and minorities.
Claremont Graduate University has a broadcast studio equipped with VideoLink ReadyCam technology, allowing the media quick, easy access to Schroedel and other on-campus experts.
About Claremont Graduate University
Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our five academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.