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Navajo says new Arizona restrictions will complicate voting –

Flagstaff, Arizona (AP) — Republicans in Arizona say voter restrictions imposed after President Joe Biden’s victory in the state last year are aimed at strengthening the integrity of future elections. Stated.

For some, this change makes voting harder than before.

The bill, signed by Governor Doug Ducey last week, is a concern for Native Americans living in remote areas, communities of other colors, and voters whose native language is not English.

One is a recently settled proceeding that codifies the existing practice of signing voters who did not sign the mail ballot until 7 pm on election day and gives voters additional days to provide their signatures. I disagree with. The other result is that tens of thousands may be removed from the list of voters who automatically receive ballots by mail.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said Ducey’s actions downplayed the tribe and were unaware of the unique challenges Native Americans face when casting ballots. This includes driving time to reach polling stations, unreliable email services, and the need for more native language translators.

“This is an assault on the electoral process of people of color throughout the country,” he said. “Here in Arizona, we’re backing voters in the tribal community, and we’ve come out a lot to vote for our chosen candidate, President Biden.”

Republican Senator Michelle Ugenti Rita, who sponsors the bill, said allegations of retaliation or voter oppression were “exorbitant” and “unfounded.” Elections are not surprising, she said, and voters want the elections to be efficient and timely results.

“Not everything is related to Biden and Trump,” she said. “These are important cleanups and fixes. It makes sense.”

Arizona is one of several states that are politically dominated by the Republican Party, and this year it has tightened election rules, primarily centered on early voting and absentee voting. Democrats say the new rules will have a disproportionate impact on minorities and low-income voters. Florida, Georgia and Iowa have already set voting restrictions, and Texas is discussing its own stricter rules.

In March, Biden issued an executive order to create a Native American voting group. In particular, it is tasked to consult with tribes across the country to address voting barriers.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Arizona’s tribal land turnout surged in 2020 compared to the 2016 presidential election, a state that has not supported the Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. Helped Biden win. Former President Donald Trump and Corps Many of his supporters refused to accept his defeat in Arizona and other battlefield states, and a partisan review of the votes cast in the state’s most populous counties. Brought.

Navajo Nation sued the Secretary of State and county authorities in 2018, forcing a change in the election process for tribal voters. The complaint alleged that more than 100 ballots cast by the Navajo were rejected because the envelopes were either unsigned or did not match.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has agreed to insert wording into the election manual to amend the ballot for all mail ballots within five days of the election. This is the same as a voter whose signature does not match the registered voter.

The Attorney General and Ducey did not approve the change. The Democratic Party has since filed a lawsuit seeking a five-day healing period for the mailed ballot. Judges in the US District Court initially agreed, but the decision was challenged. Oral arguments are scheduled for July in the Federal Court of Appeals.

Mr Nez said the ballot signing bill, which had just signed the law, would undermine the settlement in the tribal proceedings. We are evaluating the language and have not yet decided on the next step.

“We have to negotiate with the federal government if the promise is broken. Now we have a promise to break the state about the settlement we all thought we had agreed to,” Nezu said. It was.

The Secretary of State said he had no final decision on the election manual and Ugentirita should not have made unfulfilled promises. She said Navajo Nation’s anger was misdirected to Congress.

Prior to the pandemic, Native Americans voted for social events in many settlements. They met with old friends and discussed government, community needs, and their families several times a year. Tribal leaders give voters vacation to help them throw ballots and take others to vote. The campaign provided voters with traditional food.

Even if you receive the ballot that was mailed to you, many Native Americans prefer to drop the ballot at the polling place on election day, no matter how far away they are. Voters do not have the opportunity to correct it unless polling place workers check the signature on the spot.

Patty Hansen, the state’s largest county recorder, said he was disappointed with the new law because it treats it differently based on the mistakes of voters.

“We were heading in the right direction,” she said. “Now it’s reversed.”

Navajo Democratic Party Rep. Jasmine Blackwater Nigren said submitting an unsigned early mailed ballot could mean an hour’s journey to make amendments. .. The new law states that county authorities must make reasonable efforts to contact voters. Blackwater-Nygren said problems could occur if, for example, there were no Navajo translators.

Other changes in Arizona affect the list of voters who automatically receive mailed ballots. Voters who do not participate in all elections (local elections, primary elections, general elections) in two election cycles will be mailed a notice asking if they want to remain on what is known as a permanent early voting list. I will.

If they respond, nothing changes. If you do not respond within 90 days, you will be removed from the list, but you will remain a registered voter.

They can rejoin what is called an active early voting list at any time, request a ballot mailed for a single election, or vote directly. However, the ballot will not automatically arrive in your mailbox.

About 75% of the state’s registered voters are on the early voting list. This includes approximately 38,000 indigenous peoples, most of whom are concentrated in the highly competitive but democratic 1st Congress district. The district accepts several tribes in the northern and eastern parts of the state, including Navajo Nation.

Voter lists are regularly removed elsewhere, including Navajo Nation, but supporters claim that this change will deprive more people of their rights.

Blackwater-Nygren said he often hears from the Republicans that tribal members know what to expect when it comes to voting. That’s true, she said, but long-distance, uneven phone service, and lack of delivery on some bookings also pose unique challenges.

“We’re saying we don’t have the same access to polling stations, and the message seems to be lost,” she said.

Navajo says new Arizona restrictions will complicate voting –

Source link Navajo says new Arizona restrictions will complicate voting –

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