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Coronavirus not stopping AZ election

WINDOW ROCK

Despite a coronavirus pandemic raging around throughout the country and the world, voters will cast votes in the Democratic Presidential Preference Election at polls across the Arizona section of the Navajo Nation on Tuesday.

To prevent the spread of the virus, election officials in Coconino, Navajo and Apache counties, which include Navajo lands, said that hand sanitizers, gloves, Clorox wipes, alcohol wipes and Kleenex will be on hand for voters and poll workers.

President Jonathan Nez had said on Monday his administration was talking about postponing the election with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Sunday. Nez said Hobbs said it was out of her authority and said it “had to continue.”

“It’s important for Navajos to vote in an election, so how do we did it in the safest possible way?” Nez said. “They do have a plan that they shared with us of what they’re going to do.”

In addition to the sanitizers and wipes that’ll be on hand at election polls, a six-foot space would be enforced, as well as constantly wiping down equipment. Curbside voting was also going to be another option for voters to cast their ballots.

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And for people who are sick, Nez said, “Those that are sick, obviously they need to do it from their car.”

Arizona was the first state in the U.S. to confirm a COVID-19 case on Jan. 26.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the person is a Maricopa County resident and student at the Arizona State University, who had traveled to Wuhan, China, where heath officials say the virus may have originated.

Since then, 4,476 people in the country have tested positive for the virus. Arizona currently has 18 confirmed cases.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on March 11 confirmed three people “presumptively” tested positive for the virus. Since, 18 more people have tested positive. All of the confirmed cases are in the counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Socorro.

The New Mexico Democratic primary is not until June 2.

For voting today, Nez said he hopes signs will be posted for curbside voting.

“Hopefully they’ll put some signs up, giving that option right up front. We want to do in a safe manner,” he said.

Polling stations opened at 6 a.m. and will remain open until 7 p.m. (DST) across the Navajo Nation.

Polls are located at Black Mesa Chapter House, Chilchinbeto Chapter House, Forest Lake Chapter House, Kayenta Old Primary School, Shonto Prep (elementary school’s small gym), Low Mountain Chapter House, Pinon Chapter House, Whipoorwill Springs Chapter House, Greasewood Chapter House, Jeddito Chapter House, Whitecone Chapter House, Little Singer School (counseling hogan), Dilkon Chapter House, Hopi LDS Church, Kykotsmovi Senior Center, Teesto Chapter Chapter House, Indian Wells Chapter House and Hardrock Chapter House.



About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero is an award-winning Diné journalist, who is based in Window Rock, Arizona. He can be contacted at dq@navajotimes.com.

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