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.