Judge sides with Indians in voting rights case

Cheyenne, Wyo. – A federal judge is siding with American Indians and ordering Fremont County to elect county commissioners in five separate districts.

Judge Alan B. Johnson on Tuesday rejected Fremont County's proposal to continue with at-large voting in most of the county. The county had proposed to designate a single commission district in which American Indians would be the majority.

Fremont County Commission Chairman Douglas L. Thompson had no immediate comment on Johnson's ruling.

Johnson ruled earlier this year that Fremont County's long-standing system of at-large voting for county commissioners violated federal law by diluting the Indian vote.

Fremont County holds most of the Wind River Indian Reservation, the only reservation in the state.