State of New Mexico

New Mexico San Juan County Board of Commissioners Redistricting Challenge

Navajo Nation v. San Juan County

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Navajo Nation, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and five American Indian voters against San Juan County, New Mexico, the San Juan County Board of Commissioners and San Juan County elections officials challenging the county’s 2021 redistricting plan for its board of commissioners. The San Juan County Board of Commissioners is the main legislative body of the county’s government. It holds five members, elected to represent five single-member districts for four year terms. The plaintiffs allege that the 2021 county board of commissioners redistricting plan packed American Indian voters into the 1st District, where the American Indian voting age population is over 80%. The plaintiffs believe that the county could have included two majority-American Indian districts across the 1st and 2nd Districts. They argue that the county’s map dilutes the political power of American Indian voters, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs ask the court to block the 2021 redistricting plan.

On Feb. 28, 2024, San Juan County agreed to settle the case and enact a new map for the county board of commissioners with two majority-American Indian districts. On March 22, 2024, a federal judge accepted the settlement and dismissed the case.

Case Documents

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