THURSTON COUNTY, Neb. — Thurston County in northeast Nebraska is denying allegations it discriminated against two Nebraska tribal communities following a 2020 post-census redistricting.
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska accused the Thurston County Board of Supervisors of discriminating against the tribes in its redistricting process for the supervisor's districts, claiming that the board's initial redistricting proposal, as well as the one it ultimately approved January 2021, violated the Voting Rights Act. The two tribes and nine individuals have filed lawsuits against the county in January, and the board of supervisors, and also filed a civil rights complaint in federal court.
The initial lawsuit by the tribes claims the county “intentionally discriminated against American Indian voters” by adopting its redistricting plan and “repeated their pattern of intentional discrimination in their most recent Board of Supervisors redistricting map”. The county, in response, states the "allegations have no basis in law or fact and are false," according to new court documents.
Now, the county is asking a judge to declare that the county's redistricting plan does not violate the law and protects county residents, including tribal members, constitutional rights. The county is also seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit and a declaration that the alternative redistricting plan presented by the tribes does violate the Voting Rights Act.