Nevada tribes seek $117,000 in legal costs in voting lawsuit

RENO, Nev. — Two Nevada tribes are asking a federal judge to order the state of Nevada and two counties to pay them more than $100,000 in legal expenses in a growing legal battle over alleged violations of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du ordered Washoe and Mineral counties earlier this month to establish new early voting and Election Day voting sites on two Paiute reservations in northern Nevada after concluding Native Americans were being denied equal access to the polls.

Nine additional tribes followed with a similar request last week in federal court in Reno.

Lawyers for the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute tribes filed the request last Friday for $117,000 in lawyer fees and expenses incurred to date, the Reno Gazette-Journal first reported. That’s 10 times more than the tribes said it would have cost to comply with their lawsuit in the first place.

“This case required plaintiffs’ counsel to invest substantial time and resources to give this case the attention it deserves,” attorney Rendal Miller wrote in the motion.

The legal battle is the latest in a series of cases arguing violation of the Voting Rights Act in Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Montana and the Dakotas.

The nine new Nevada tribes joining the fight include the Reno Sparks Indian Colony in Washoe County, the Yerington Paiutes in Lyon County and three tribes in Elko County. They also include one tribe each in Humboldt County, Churchill County, Nye County and Clark County.

The tribes sent a letter Friday through the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office requesting early polling sites from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4.

Du issued an emergency order Oct. 7 granting early polling sites on the Pyramid Lake reservation in Nixon and Walker River reservation Schurz, as well as an Election Day site in Nixon, while the overall case continues.

Those tribes say their members were being denied equal access to the polls due to the long distances some must travel to vote early or cast ballots on Election Day.

The Reno Sparks Indian Colony as well as the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe are also requesting on-site early polling spots. They cited evidence presented during the original lawsuit that showed Native Americans were more comfortable voting on reservations and sometimes felt intimidated at majority-white precincts.

The defendants have not responded to the latest filings.

Cegavske’s office did not immediately respond to telephone or email messages seeking comment on Tuesday.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Supreme Court orders use of interim map for elections

The decision came just over a week before the June 1 filing deadline for the August primaries.

A male red-winged blackbird displays his showy red patches and calls to a rival male (Gina Vose photo)
On the Trails: Birds and beetles at Kingfisher Pond

Something is almost always happening at Kingfisher Pond.

Most Read