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New Mexico Native American Voting Task Force gets to work
Task force aims to boost participation in state, federal elections

Tiffany Blackbull lives and works on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. She also votes on the Navajo Nation at the local school, which is about 20 miles from the ranch where she lives with her husband, teenage daughters and a passel of animals.

“My assigned polling place is about 20 miles from the ranch, which is ‘just over the hill’ out here,” Blackbull said. “When voting occurs, it’s not really very busy. It’s an interesting dynamic out here. For the state and federal elections, there’s usually a lackluster turnout on the reservation, however for the local elections — Navajo chapter positions, Navajo presidential election — the turnout is significantly higher.”

In the 2016 General Election, the overall voter turnout in New Mexico was 62 percent. In predominantly Native American precincts, the turnout was 56 percent.

The Navajo Nation encompasses about 27,000 square miles in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. In New Mexico, nearly 66,000 residents live on Navajo lands. In all, about 10.6 percent of New Mexico’s population is Native American and represents 23 different tribes.

Hoping to boost Native American participation in state and federal elections, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has convened the Native American Voting Task Force. Read More…