Navajo Nation threatens AG with lawsuit over elections procedures

A Navajo Nation welcome sign at the entrance to the Four Corners region of the southwest United States (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona).
/Photo by Tony Savino/Corbis via Getty Images

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

The Navajo Nation is threatening a new lawsuit against the state over changes demanded by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to a proposed election procedures manual.

In a letter obtained by Capitol Media Services, Doreen McPaul, attorney general for the tribe, told the Attorney General’s Office that Secretary of State Katie Hobbs had agreed to allow people who forgot to sign their early ballot envelopes an opportunity to “cure” the defect, coming in to sign the envelopes up to five days after the election.

That would ensure that the votes are counted.

More to the point, McPaul noted, that deal ended a 2018 lawsuit filed by the Navajo Nation against the state and several counties charging that election practices illegally discriminated against tribal members and kept them from having their votes counted. Hobbs then put the terms of that deal into the latest version of the state Elections Manual.

But Brnovich is objecting, saying there is no legal authority for her to do that.

What makes Brnovich’s protest crucial is that the revisions can take place if and only when he agrees to it. And an aide to Brnovich said he will provide his approval only if the manual removes the language about voters being able to cure their ballots after Election Day.


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December 2019