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Native American language help during elections waived for SD counties

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Nearly a dozen counties in the Dakotas no longer have to provide Native American language assistance during elections after the U.S. Census Bureau updated its guidelines this month.

Since 2002, 11 South Dakota counties have been part of a nationwide list of jurisdictions that must provide language assistance for groups unable to speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process.

But those counties are absent from the bureau's updated list of 248 jurisdictions released earlier this month.

The counties had been required to help Lakota language speakers during elections with specially produced written material, ballot machine reprogramming and onsite interpreters.

County election officials say the services were not being used and the changes will help save money.

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