By Millicent Michelle Pepion, Ph.D.
Editor’s note: Dr. Millicent Michelle Pepion is a graduate of the American Indian Studies program at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation analyzes the relationship between the 22 tribes and 15 counties in Arizona. For more information about her work, visit RedDataConsulting.com.
Election season is approaching and for many people on the Navajo reservation this means they will have to prove their physical address.
The issue I am speaking with pertains to the fact that in order for your vote to count in districts that overlap your community, you must be able to verify your physical address with your County Recorder and Arizona’s Secretary of State. If you are unable to verify your physical address, you will still be able to vote for state-wide candidates, but your vote for community elected officials will not be counted.
How did I come to care about this work? In 2020, I had the opportunity to live in the Window Rock area with my Uncle Stanley Perry and his wife Judge Carol Perry. Before she passed, they lived in a small allotment, just west of Denny’s on Highway 264. They did not have a physical address and having worked for the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, I knew this was going to be a headache to prove in the upcoming Biden-Trump election.
Several factors, which I will not name now, motivated me to want to participate in both the primaries and general election, and that’s how I came to the following three conclusions.