Voters in San Juan County have rejected a ballot proposal to study changing the form of government.
Updated numbers provided by the San Juan County Clerk on Friday show Proposition 10 was defeated, with 2,120 voters saying “no” to 1,967 voters saying “yes.” The results would block the county government from considering whether to change from its current three-member commission government.
The change of government question came about in the aftermath of a federal judge ordering a special election that overhauled the county’s government. The judge ruled that commission and school board boundaries were gerrymandered to make Native Americans a political minority. The special election last year led to a Navajo-majority commission.
The Navajo Nation president and tribal groups pushed against Prop. 10. They cheered the results released Friday.
“A lot of people do not agree with this study idea or other ploys to take away our voice. They’re finally waking-up. They’re finally realizing that voting is a tool and we need our voices,” David Filfred, the chairman of Utah Diné Bikeyah, said in a statement. “Now that this fifth attempt to remove Native Americans from office is defeated, it is time for San Juan County citizens to come together across the racial divide to heal and move forward.”
The election was also monitored by the ACLU of Utah as a result of a separate lawsuit over voting issues. The ACLU sued alleging that there was inadequate polling locations in the sprawling county and that voter information was not provided in Navajo, which is traditionally an unwritten language. San Juan County government settled with the ACLU.