Utah ballot measure opposed by Navajos fails

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2019, file photo, Jonathan Nez addresses a crowd after he was sworn in as president of the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance, Ariz. Nez is calling on voters in a southeastern Utah county to reject a ballot proposition that could lead to expanding a three-member county commission that Native Americans took majority of last year. Nez said Tuesday, Oct. 29, in a statement that the proposition is the latest attempt to undermine the voice of Navajo voters in San Juan County. The county overlaps with the Navajo Nation.

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 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 statement the results show the issue of expanding the commission should be put to rest for good.

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