League of Women Voters, task force worked on project

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FARMINGTON — Guides designed to provide information to Native American voters about the general election in New Mexico were released earlier this month by the Secretary of State's Office.

The guides were developed for elections in the 12 counties in the state that have federally recognized tribes, according to an Oct. 9 press release from the Secretary of State's Office.

Each guide contains information pertaining to the county about registering to vote, voting in person on Election Day, voter identification and early and absentee voting.

There is also information about state and county candidates, proposed amendments to the state Constitution and bond questions.

The guides are available in locations in San Juan, Bernalillo, Cibola, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos and Valencia counties.

The guide was produced by the New Mexico League of Women Voters and the Native American Voting Task Force, an entity formed by New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in April 2017 to increase voter participation among Native Americans.

"These guides will provide greater access to election information to our tribal communities, which leads to more participation in the democratic process among Native Americans. The Native American Voting Task Force has identified ways to increase participation in elections within Native American voting precincts and these guides are an important tool in that endeavor," Toulouse Oliver said in the release.

Alex Curtas, the communications director for the Secretary of State's office, said in an email on Friday that the distribution process started last week.

The guides will be available in San Juan County at chapter houses in Beclabito, Burnham, Crystal, Gadii'ahi, Huerfano, Lake Valley, Nageezi, Naschitti, Newcomb, Nenahnezad, Sanostee, Sheep Springs and Two Grey Hills.

Other locations are the San Juan County Clerk's Office in Aztec and the Phil L. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock.

Curtas said the guide will be available on election day on Nov. 6 at the voting convenience center at the Central Consolidated School District business office in Shiprock.

Copies of the guide for each of the 12 counties are available at the New Mexico Secretary of State's Native American Voting Task Force webpage.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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