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Arizona Sees Record Voter Registration

Navajo Times, News report, Cindy Yurth Posted: Oct 16, 2008




CHINLE With many mail-in registrations still uncounted, Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer declared Tuesday that the number of new voter registrations has set a record at 41,723.

Although she hasnt tallied the registrations at her office yet, Apache County Recorder LeNora Johnson said shes pretty sure her mostly Navajo county will reflect the states statistics.

We were open until midnight Monday (the last day to register) and I fielded the last call at about a quarter to 12, Johnson said.

Johnson credited high interest in this years presidential race, but also ongoing initiatives at the state and county level to get out the vote.

Online registration, for example, is easier than ever with more people having access to computers, and Apache Countys three outreach officers are doing their job getting their portable election booth out to early voters.

Im seeing more young people registering, and were sending out a lot of absentee ballots to members of the military, Johnson said.

Although she doesnt isolate statistics on Navajo voters, her sense is that interest is running high among Din for both the presidential race and the state and county races, which each have a record number of Navajo candidates.

Chistopher Clark Deschene and Jolene Tom are competing for state representative while Albert Hale is hoping to retain his senate seat (his opponent, Royce Jenkins, is also a Native a Hopi who is married to a Navajo).

On the county side, Joseph Dedman is running unopposed for sheriff while Din incumbents Johnson, treasurer Katherine Arviso and superintendent of schools Pauline Begay are all up for re-election.

Jim Claw and Tom White are hoping to keep their county supervisor seats, but a third Din candidate, Navajo Nation Elections Director Edison Wauneka, was disqualified when it turned out many of the people who signed his election petition didnt live in his district.

That isnt his fault, Johnson said. Our districts dont have really clearly defined borders, and if someone tells us I live five miles south of the trading post when they actually live three miles south of it, we might tell them the wrong district.

She said shes making it a priority of hers to create better maps, and also to work with the Navajo Nation on its current rural addressing project.

Its not only Navajos who need better addresses, she said of the 41,000 households in Apache County, only 8,000 have standard addresses.

Virgil Attson, a Chinle-based elections outreach worker for Apache County, said early voting on the Navajo Nation has been slow so far but he expects it to pick up today and Friday when the mobile poll is parked near Bashas and the flea market, respectively.

In Apache County you have no excuse not to vote, Attson said. We practically come to your door. (See sidebar for when the early voting trailer will be in your neighborhood.)

The Navajo Nation is also offering early voting for tribal offices, and Jazz Long at the tribes Chinle elections office said traffic has been pretty brisk.

A lot of the chapters have just one candidate for each office this year, but Chinle actually has some contested races, he said, adding that chapter members have called in from as far away as Madrid, Spain to request absentee ballots.

In New Mexico, Tuesday marked the last day of registration and the first day of early voting.

Richard Palochak of the McKinley County Elections Bureau pronounced himself way too busy Tuesday to tally registrations, but confirmed it looked like a bumper crop.

Between the registrations and the early voting, weve been really, really busy all day, he said.


Related articles

Beware of Accidental Disenfranchisement

Survey Shows Asian Americans Could Play Key Role in Presidential Election

Study Shows How to Increase Low-Income and Ethnic Voter Turnout

Why 8 Million African Americans Are Not Registered to Vote

How McCain Became Macbeth

Election 2008



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