Judge OKs New Voting Districts In Racial Discrimination Case
A federal judge is approving new county election districts in southeastern Utah after finding the boundaries discriminated against American Indians who make up roughly half the population.
The new San Juan County voting districts are designed to give native residents an equal voice in local races, but commissioner Phil Lyman said Friday they are unfair and the county plans to appeal.
Local Navajo leader Mark Maryboy, meanwhile, calls the ruling a well-deserved victory.
The Navajo Nation, which also stretches into New Mexico and Arizona, sued Utah's San Juan County in 2012. They said school board and county commission districts were racially gerrymandered.
U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby declared the boundaries unconstitutional. The judge appointed an independent expert to draw new ones and personally ran public meetings to hear local feedback.