The Navajo Nation has dropped a legal claim that could have delayed formal certification of the general election results. But the tribe still contends early voting procedures used in three Arizona counties violate the rights of tribal residents. And an attorney for the tribe, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, said Monday that unless there is a deal, they will be back in court. At a brief hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Dominic Lanza agreed to essentially put the legal dispute on the back burner. In a blistering statement from the bench, however, the judge blasted the tribe’s attorneys for waiting until this past Tuesday to file suit for a temporary restraining order on a narrow issue that would have delayed announcing a final vote tally for all races statewide.
“They dumped a poorly thought out TRO in the court’s lap right before Thanksgiving,” Lanza said, saying it caused “unnecessary hardship” for the court and for the state and the three counties. “That shouldn’t happen.”
Lanza pointed out that many of the legal issues raised by the tribe are not new.
For example, the lawsuit cites the lack of early voting sites on the reservation and the lack of people at these sites to provide instructions in the Dine language on how to properly fill out and sign ballots. The situation is complicated because there are no written instructions, as the Navajo language is strictly oral.