Voting districts not set in stone, but set for this year
Mar 01, 2016 | 4839 views | 0 0 comments | 196 196 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The upcoming election season will be interesting in the light of two recent rulings by a federal judge.

Federal Judge Robert Shelby has ruled that voting districts must be redrawn for the San Juan County Commission and for the San Juan School District.

The school district ruling was made in November, 2015, and provided enough time for the county to submit a proposed redistricting map, creating five districts of equal size.

Judge Shelby has stated that the proposed school district map will be used for the upcoming election. However, it may be adjusted after the 2016 election.

A map with the school voting districts can be found at the San Juan Record website at For detailed information, contact San Juan County.

Three of the five school board positions will be on the November 8 general election ballots. They are the positions currently held by Merri Shumway, Debbie Christiansen and Bill Boyle.

Shelby’s ruling on the commission districts was made in February, 2016, which is just a few weeks before the filing period begins for the 2016 election season.

As a result, San Juan County Attorney Kendall Laws said it appears as if the existing Commission voting district boundaries will be used for the November 8 general election.

One Commission position will be on the ballot for the district currently represented by Bruce Adams.

The rulings were made as part of a lawsuit filed by the Navajo Nation regarding voting rights and election districts. After the 2010 Census, the Navajo Nation Office of Civil Rights had submitted a recommendation for adjusted voting districts. The recommendation would have created a Native American super-majority in two of the three Commission voting districts and in three of the five school voting districts.

In 2012, the San Juan County Commission made slight adjustments in two of the Commission voting districts. The adjustments followed the existing precinct boundaries, moving voters in the Ucolo and Cedar Point precincts from one district to another. There were no changes made in the school voting districts.

Prior to the slight adjustments, the voting districts had not changed since they were established in 1986 following a previous voting rights lawsuit.

Since 1986, two of the three Commissioners have been Anglo and three of the five school board members have been Anglo. Voters in the third school election district have a Native American majority but have always elected an Anglo representative.
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