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Settlement talks under way in ACLU’s lawsuit over Navajo voting access

SALT LAKE CITY — Settlement talks are apparently under way in a lawsuit filed against San Juan County over Navajo voters’ access to the ballot.

In a court filing obtained by FOX 13 on Saturday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah disclosed that it was entering into settlement talks with San Juan County. It asked a federal judge to delay upcoming deadlines in the lawsuit.

“The parties continue to explore possible settlement. The parties have (met) and are in ongoing discussions. Defendants have agreed to this extension of time,” ACLU of Utah Legal Director John Mejia wrote in the filing.

The ACLU sued San Juan County on behalf of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission over access to the ballot. San Juan County switched to vote by mail, reducing the amount of polling places it had. The lawsuit claims that because the county is so large, that means hours-long drives for many people.

Compounding the problem is that Navajo is an unwritten language, so mail-in ballots would not be available in their native tongue. Translation services would only be available at a polling place.