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Thu Nov 1, 2018, 01:35 PM

'They're playing dirty': Can Navajos win power after racial exclusion?


'They're playing dirty': Can Navajos win power after racial exclusion?

Republican-drawn voting districts left Native Americans voiceless despite their majorities. This election could bring sweeping change

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James Adakai, the San Juan county Democratic party chairman, in Oljato, Utah. Photograph: Jeremy Miller for the Guardian

The community gathering took place in the northern reaches of the Navajo Nation. Hundreds of people lined up in view of Monument Valley’s towering red mesas to enjoy traditional singing and dancing but also to register to vote – and end the legacy of racial gerrymandering that, for decades, has blocked Native Americans from power in this isolated corner of the American west.
Here in southern Utah’s red rock country, as in other rural reaches of the US, Democrats are working hard to make the so-called blue wave a reality. But the history of disenfranchisement has cast a long shadow over the Navajo Nation, one they hope they can throw off in the election. Today, Native Americans, who lean heavily Democratic, make up a slight majority in San Juan county, which encompasses this part of Utah. But for decades they were “packed” by Republican officials into a single district in the county’s southernmost reaches, echoing other partisan gerrymandering efforts across the US.

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People gather for a Navajo Nation voter registration event. Photograph: Jeremy Miller for the Guardian

In 2016, a federal judge ruled that San Juan county had violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by illegally drawing contorted voting districts to disenfranchise Native American voters. In a follow-up ruling last December, the judge handed down newly drawn district maps that give Navajos a majority by population in two of the county’s three commission districts. If Navajo candidates win next week, it could reshape the region.

James Adakai, a Navajo tribe member and Democratic party chairman of San Juan county, sat at a desk inside the Navajo Welcome Center in Oljato, Utah, in mid-September, sipping from a bottle of Gatorade as the powwow and voter registration drive took place outside. He was losing his voice. For weeks, Adakai had been on a frenetic circuit, working with tribal officials and volunteers from the Rural Utah Project, a not-for-profit, nonpartisan voter registration group, to get residents scattered across the 27,000 sq mile expanse of the Navajo Nation on the voting rolls. “I’m tired, but people are energized,” Adakai said.

. . .

Local Democrats have accused county officials of failing to observe the redrawn boundaries. During the June primary, for example, hundreds of voters received ballots with candidates from the court-invalidated districts; others received ones with the wrong party affiliation. In addition, said Adakai, hundreds of voter registration cards were reportedly “lost” by the county clerk’s office. “They’re worried that the redistricting order might shake up the balance of power,” he said. “They’re playing dirty.”

. . . .
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/01/navajo-nation-utah-midterm-election-gerrymandering

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Reply 'They're playing dirty': Can Navajos win power after racial exclusion? (Original post)
niyad Nov 2018 OP
Wellstone ruled Nov 2018 #1
niyad Nov 2018 #2
Wellstone ruled Nov 2018 #3
niyad Nov 2018 #4

Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 01:44 PM

1. Being fimiliar with San Jaun County and

 

especially the Native Community as retail Customers. Heard the horror stories. The County Commissioners are all Mormon to start with. Voting polls are a problem,voter registration is a nightmare,County Officials are know for changing the game as it is being played.


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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 01:47 PM

2. thank you for the additional information.

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Response to niyad (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 01:52 PM

3. Kids should not have to ride a School Bus for more than three hours one way.

 

That is a every day in San Jaun County. Homes without Electricity is slowly coming to a end,and that only because of Federal Grant money from the Obama Administration. This County has the least amount of paved roads in Utah. Most of the Paved Roads are in only Anglo areas.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 01:59 PM

4. you are absolutely correct. what a shameful, obscene situation.

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