The Navajo Nation has filed suit in U.S. District Court for Utah, alleging that San Juan County is attempting to keep Navajos from capturing a second seat on the county’s three-member commission by failing to redraw voting districts to reflect the 2010 U.S. Census. The suit, filed Thursday in Salt Lake City, alleges that San Juan County is in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and in violation of the 1973 Voting Rights Act by ensuring that non-Indian voters hold majorities in two of the county’s three voting districts.
Commission chairman Bruce Adams denied the allegations in an interview. “The system we have right now works well,” he said, “and guarantees that there is at least one Native American on the commission.”
San Juan County is divided into three districts for the purpose of electing commissioners. Those districts were created in a 1984 federal court consent decree, the outcome of an earlier legal battle by Navajos to gain representation at the county commission level.