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Former Navajo Delegate Off Utah Ballot

Former Navajo Delegate Off Utah Ballot
May 15
12:10 2018

A judge has kicked Willie Grayeyes off the ballot for a San Juan County Commissioner seat.

Though he has been registered to vote and held various local positions in the county, the judge ruled that Grayeyes – a former member of the Navajo Nation Council – does not live in San Juan County.

This is the first county commissioner election since the courts ordered the districts redrawn. The court found that the districts had been drawn to dilute the Navajo vote.

Navajos make up approximately half of registered voters in the county.

After an investigation found that Grayeyes doesn’t live in the county, the results were forwarded to prosecutors for potential criminal charges.

However an attorney representing Grayeyes disputes the investigation’s findings.

“We don’t think things are over yet,” attorney Maya Kane said.

Grayeyes has lived in San Juan County his entire life, Kane said.

Kane suggested that the Republican-led county has targeted Grayeyes, a Democrat, after a judge redrew the voting districts.

County leaders are also still fighting the redistricting in the courts, arguing that the judge’s new voting districts unfairly carve up the city of Blanding, Utah.

Navajo leaders have condemned the Grayeyes probe, but county officials insist it has nothing to do with politics or race.

San Juan County officials said that Grayeyes’ neighbors – and a sister – told a sheriff’s deputy that he lives primarily in Tuba City, Ariz.

Grayeyes is a board member of Utah Dine Bik’eyah, a organization that fought to make Bears Ears a national monument. That was something opposed by most of San Juan County’s leadership.

San Juan County overlaps the Navajo Nation. People living in the county’s remote areas often drive many miles for work ad some collect mail at the most convenient post office.

 

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