Utah ballot measure opposed by Navajos fails

Composite image. Inset photos L-R: San Juan County Commissioners Willie Grayeyes, Kenneth Maryboy and Bruce Adams. County voters rejected a proposal to expand the County Commission during the November 2019 municipal election. | Background stock photo of Monument Valley. County Commissioner photos courtesy San Juan County Commission, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah ballot proposition that could have led to an expansion of a three-person county commission that Navajos recently took control of has been rejected by voters.

Results posted Friday by San Juan County show the measure narrowly lost by 153 votes in the southeastern Utah county that overlaps with the Navajo Nation.

The measure backed by Blanding Mayor Joe Lyman reignited a fierce dispute over Navajo voting rights after two Navajos won seats on the commission in last year’s election.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez had urged voters to defeat a measure he and others argued was an attempt to undermine Native American voices. Nez said Friday in a statement that the results show the issue of expanding the commission should be put to rest for good.

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