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Utah ballot measure opposed by Navajos fails

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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. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca, File)

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.

“The defeat of this measure should encourage all county officials to move forward with more meaningful initiatives like the improvement of school bus routes, stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and many others issues that will benefit all county residents,” said President Nez.

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Glen Mills

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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