A federal judge has handed down new voting districts to replace those declared discriminatory against American Indian voters in southeastern Utah, but a prominent county commissioner said Friday that the county plans to appeal. The new election districts are designed to give an equal voice in local races to native residents who make up about half the population. Mark Maryboy called them a well-deserved victory that comes after a half century of struggle. “It means a great socio-economic development for the Navajo people in San Juan County,” said Maryboy, who is Navajo and a former county commissioner. “Navajos make better county officials. I don’t think Navajos will discriminate against the white county population.”
San Juan County commissioner Phil Lyman, though, said the changes unfairly carve up the county’s largest city into three districts.
“It’s unnecessary to divide up a town like that,” Lyman said. “It’s intended to harm Blanding.”
The Navajo Nation, which covers parts of Arizona and New Mexico and as well as Utah, sued the county in 2012. They said school board and county commission districts were racially gerrymandered.