State Watch

Navajo Nation president on Arizona’s new voting restrictions: An ‘assault’ on our rights

MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images
President of the Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez stands in the Monument Valley Tribal Park, which has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Arizona on May 21, 2020. – Weeks of delays in delivering vital coronavirus aid to Native American tribes exacerbated the outbreak, the president of the hard-hit Navajo Nation said, lashing the…

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that Arizona’s new voting restrictions are an “assault” on the tribe’s voting rights.

Nez’s comments come after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) this month signed into law several GOP-led bills aimed at election reforms.

Most notably was Senate Bill 1485, which reforms the state’s permanent early voting list into an active early voting list. People would be removed from the list after they don’t participate in two prior general election cycles.

“This is an assault to the election process for people of color throughout this country,” Nez told The Associated Press. “Here in Arizona, it’s pushing back on the voters of tribal communities, and we came out in big numbers to vote our candidate of choice, which is President Biden.”

State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R), who sponsored SB 1485, told the AP that claims of voter suppression are “unfounded.”

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

Arizona is one of several GOP-led states aggressively pushing election reform measures this year amid former President Trump’s repeated pushing of baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Georgia, Florida and Texas have also passed laws restricting voting measures.

Arizona and Georgia were both states that Biden won in 2020. He was the first Democrat to carry Arizona since 1996, and the first to carry Georgia since 1992.

According to the AP, voter turnout among tribal lands in the Grand Canyon State surged in 2020 compared to 2016 despite the coronavirus pandemic, helping contribute to Biden’s win.

The state Senate is currently conducting an audit of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, an attempt largely viewed as a political effort to appease supporters of Trump who think the election was fraudulent.

Tags 2020 election Arizona Donald Trump Doug Ducey Joe Biden Jonathan Nez Navajo Nation Voting voting laws

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