Listen to the original story on Utah Public Radio.
In the Navajo Nation, voters face unique challenges to having their voices heard. The non-profit Rural Utah Project has been working to address these issues, literally.
“I sat down to talk to some of the residents, you know, also taking the precautions and all. I’ve also tried to find out where they live, so I can get their address so I can finish my addressing project. And with that, I could also update their voters registration according to the address they have, and that pins them exactly where they live so that they’re registered in the right district or precinct,” said Dalene Redhorse, a field organizer for the Rural Utah Project.
She has spent the last year helping residents assign Google Plus codes to their homes, which are based on latitude and longitude. There are few named streets on the reservation, and the Plus codes have allowed many households to have an address for the first time. The Rural Utah Project went door-to-door to talk to residents about using the new address for registering to vote.
“A lot of the elders were pretty surprised that we’ve actually visited and came to their doorstep to get their voters registration, and that kind of gave them the sense of confidence that their votes have been counted that something is happening with their votes,” Redhorse said.
With voter registration deadline now past, Redhorse said the volunteers have moved on to other election preparations.
“We’ve just been trying to put up food stands and do curbside, either Navajo tacos or fry bread. Just to attract people. I mean, just to kind of show people that there’s an early voting site in there, you know, where we were set up and stuff,” Redhorse said.
She said the amount of residents engaged in the registration and voting process has been encouraging.
“It just makes me happy to see you know,” said Redhorse. “I’m glad people are responding to this election this year, especially.”