Navajo Nation suit could delay final vote count

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The Navajo Nation is claiming that the state and several counties illegally discriminated against tribal members and kept them from having their votes counted.

Legal papers filed Tuesday in federal court cite a litany of problems that lawyers for the tribe say make it difficult, if not impossible, for reservation members to cast early ballots. That includes the failure to provide instructions in the native language on how to fill them out and the requirement to sign and date the envelope.

But the lawsuit says the problem was complicated this year by the fact that some counties refused to give residents time after the election to “cure” early ballots where the envelope was not signed or a signature did not match.

In pure numbers, that issue is highly unlikely to affect any of the races for statewide or legislative offices. Attorney Patty Ferguson-Bohnee said there are more than 100 ballots that were not counted.

But the lawsuit does not simply ask Judge Dominic Lanza to declare the voting practices illegal and prohibit them from occurring again. It also seeks a court order giving those whose ballots were not counted five days to remedy the problem.

More to the point, those five days would run from whatever date the judge would issue an order from whenever that order is issued. And there is no date at this point for even a hearing.

That, in turn, could prevent the state from certifying the election results as scheduled on Dec. 3.


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November 2018