Tribe takes Pima county recorder to court for early-voting site

Deer dancer statue outside the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s administration building./Emma Gibson/AZPM

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The question of how far residents of the Pascua Yaqui reservation have to travel to cast an early ballot this year will depend on what a federal judge concludes was the reason for moving the site in the first place.

Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez says it’s just a matter of numbers. She said there just weren’t enough people using the site during the last presidential election four years ago.

Attorneys for the tribe, which filed suit demanding restoration of the site this year, said it isn’t that simple.

They point to provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act, which limits the ability of state and local officials to take any action which disproportionately affects the rights of protected minorities. And that includes Native Americans.

But U.S. District Court Judge James Soto could sidestep the whole legal issue — at least for the time being — by simply ruling that the tribe waited too long to file suit.

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