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Judge orders GOP to halt poll tactics
Mike Madden, Argus Leader Washington Bureau

Daschle sues to stop 'intimidation' of Indians

Republican poll workers in Lake Andes were intimidating Native American voters on Monday, a federal judge ruled early today.

Republicans may not write down license plate numbers or follow Native Americans from polling places during today's election, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled in a temporary restraining order.

The ruling comes after Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle sued his opponent, John Thune, and the GOP in federal court in Sioux Falls on Monday, asking Piersol to stop what Democrats say was intimidation of voters.

"This ruling will hopefully ensure that every legitimate voter can vote free of intimidation on Election Day," said Daschle spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.

Piersol, whom Daschle chose for the federal bench, released his opinion about 1:45 a.m. today after hearing one witness from each side.

Daschle is depending on heavy turnout from Native American voters to win an expected close election.

Republicans had not decided whether to appeal, as of early today.

"It's a total joke," said Dick Wadhams, Thune's campaign manager. "What you've got is a situation where there is no credible evidence presented and the judge bent over backward for his long-time political pal."

Daschle charges that GOP poll observers have been crowding voters, making notes as they voted and writing down license plate numbers of cars bringing them to vote.

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