Could new mapping tool solve rural addressing problem?


As volunteers with the Rural Utah Project were canvassing the Navajo portion of San Juan County, Utah, last year to get people registered to vote in the wake of court-ordered redistricting, they couldn’t even find some of the houses.

“We realized the big problem,” said Drew Cooper, a supervisor for RUP. “No one had a physical address.”

Of course, this is not a new problem on the Navajo Nation. And while everyone has a story of an ambulance driving around trying to find a house or packages being mis-delivered, the lack of a physical address can be used — and was — to disenfranchise voters, Cooper told a crowd of about 50 at the Navajo Voters Coalition’s 2019 Summit here Saturday.

Voters, including candidate Willie Grayeyes, were told they didn’t live in the county, and at least 200 voters, according to Cooper, were registered in the wrong school board precinct, which would have disqualified their votes.

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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at