Officials call primary election process a success

by David Boyle
The June 24 San Juan County Primary election saw it’s first exclusive mail-in ballot run smoothly, according to officials.
The results of the Democratic primary race for Commissioner in District 3, between Rebecca Benally and Roger Atcitty, were not known until after the press deadline.
However, San Juan County Clerk Norman Johnson reported on Monday that voter participation in District 3 was more than 52 percent, with one day remaining for the mailed ballots to return.
The participation rate more than doubles the 24.5 percent participation in the most recent previous primary election in that district. Johnson said he is pleased to see the rise in voter participation.
The number will inevitably grow on the final day to receive ballots, June 24.
Johnson said that in addition to mailing out the ballots, the county has paid for advertisements on radio stations in District 3 to remind voters to mail their completed ballots.
Johnson said a lot of preparation and procedure went into making sure the county office was ready to receive and process the ballots.
“It’s been a learning curve, but we feel good about it,” said Johnson.
The returned ballots have a two-tiered system to help eliminate the possibility of voter fraud. After voting, the registered voter signs an affidavit on the envelope.
Johnson said that of the few issues had with signatures, most were simply because voters forgot to sign. He added, “Our Navajo voter liaison, Edward Tapaha, has personally gone to try and find those people to help clear it up.”
After the signature is verified, an identification tab on the ballot is then torn from the ballot and the anonymous ballot is ready to be counted.
Results of the election were made known on Tuesday, June 24 at approximately 8 p.m.

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