Navajo voters supported Biden, but not as broadly as claimed

The Claim: Statistics on voter turnout and votes show the Navajo Nation’s “dislike” for Trump

Since voters cast their votes on Election Day, political observers have begun analyzing how different racial and ethnic demographic groups voted in the presidential campaign.

Len Necefer, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona and its Udall Center for Public Policy, posted his opinion on November 6th on Twitter, which other users shared on Facebook.

In particular, he analyzed support for President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden among members of the Navajo Nation.

“You want to know how much the Navajo Nation dislikes Trump?” Necefer wrote.

“1. Of the 85,000 registered voters on Navajo, 76,000 have voted. 89% vote.

“2. Of those 76,000 voters, 74,000 voted for Biden and 2,000 for Trump.

“3. Biden’s current lead in Arizona is about 40,000.”

Others shared a similar statistic to the second point – 97% of the Navajo nation voted for Biden.

Tom Steyer, a former Democratic presidential candidate, wrote on Facebook that “in the three counties in Arizona that intersect with the Navajo nation, 97% of the vote went to Joe Biden, who secured his victory in the state.”

Steyer did not respond to requests for comments from USA TODAY.

Robert Reich, the Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, also shared the 97% statistic on Twitter, which was posted by other users on Instagram. Reich told USA TODAY that he later updated his post on Facebook with more accurate statistics.

More:Fact Check: Post about stolen – and returned – ballots from Arizona lacks context

Statistics on votes and voter turnout are inaccurate state, according to state reports

In response to his viral tweet, Necefer attributed the statistics to an article in the Navajo Times. He also told USA TODAY that he relied on his analysis.

The article claims that Apache, Coconino, and Navajo counties – the three that overlap with the Navajo nation – reported 73,954 votes for Biden, compared to 2,010 votes for Trump.

It is also alleged that Biden had a 97% turnout compared to 51% nationwide, so that appears to be the source for Steyer and Reich.

The Navajo Times included a disclaimer that “not all votes have been counted and all results listed are unofficial”.

But the results in the Navajo Times don’t keep up with updated state totals, according to the state’s website on Wednesday.

Apache County reported 22,730 votes for Biden and 11,240 votes for Trump. Coconino County reported 44,609 votes for Biden and 27,043 votes for Trump. And Navajo County reported 23,383 votes for Biden and 27,657 votes for Trump.

In total, that’s 90,722 votes for Biden and 65,940 votes for Trump – about 58% to 42%.

Hopi tribal registrar Karen Shupla poses outside the Navajo County polling station in Sipaulovi Village, Hopi Nation.  Shupla visited all three polling stations in Navajo County of the Hopi Nation on election day.

As for voter turnout, Apache County reported a 67.09% turnout, according to its website. Coconino County reported an 80.62% turnout, according to its website. And Navajo County reported a 74.18% turnout on its website.

County by county information is not a perfect indicator of support among Navajo or Native American people.

More:Fact check: States have no more than 100% voter turnout in an election

Of the 71,000 residents of Apache County, 73% are Indians. Of Navajo County’s 108,000 residents, 43% are Native Americans, according to the Arizona Republic.

In addition to the Navajo Nation, both counties also include members of the Hopi Nation.

Necefer also told USA TODAY that the three counties “also include large, mostly white communities further south,” including Winslow, Holbrook and Flagstaff.

“So the numbers you are referring to include those communities too, which is why they are not strung together,” he wrote in an email. “Some of these communities have a strong Republican vote.”

Nationwide in Arizona, the population is 6% Native American – approximately 424,955 people.

In terms of the overall Arizona vote, the state website reported 1,655,192 votes for Biden and 1,642,379 for Trump on Nov. 11, up 17,131 votes, or 49.44% versus 49.05%.

The eligible voters of the Navajo Nation alone – which also overlaps with New Mexico and Utah – number around 67,000. The counties within the reservation ranged from 60-90% for Biden, according to High Country News.

However, it is worth noting that a significant proportion of the enrolled members of the tribe live on reservations and therefore choose elsewhere.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks.

Navajo leaders have spoken about strong support and turnout for Biden, even though the community is not monolithic

Although the statistics cited by Necefer were inaccurate, his position on the Navajo’s strong disdain for Trump and support for Biden has been confirmed by other community leaders.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told the Fronteras Desk that “in these tribal nations, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been overwhelmingly affected”.

Nez also said events like a meeting he had with Biden in Phoenix “really inspired Native American voters to come to the polls and cast their votes for change.”

More:The Navajo Nation has a higher death toll from COVID-19 than any US state. This is how you can support community aid.

Clara Pratt, the director of tribal engagement at Biden who was previously director of the Navajo Washington Office, told the Navajo Times that she was proud of how the Native American vote helped defeat Trump.

“Tribal communities have done this,” said Pratt. “We received so much encouragement. The very attention given to Indian land in this campaign is incredible, and it is a real testament to the power of indigenous choice. “

Maps of the recent elections show the match between the 22 tribes of Arizona and the areas of the state that voted for the Democrats.

“Historically, local voters have one of the lowest turnouts,” added Pratt. “But the power we have when we show up, and to do so during a pandemic of all things, was proof of how important that choice was … for a lot of people.”

The impact of COVID-19 on Navajo and Native American communities also played a role in their vote.

More:Native Americans battle COVID-19 and other electoral barriers as election day approaches

In May, the Navajo nation had the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the US, according to High Country News. Back then, Nez criticized the Trump administration for its botched response to the pandemic.

Still, not all Navajos are anti-Trump or Democrats.

Council delegate, Edmund Yazzie, who supported Trump, told the Navajo Times that it was important not to underestimate the Navajo Republicans.

“The Navajo people, there are also a lot of Republicans, they are growing,” he said. “We can’t just say ‘Democrat’.”

Myron Lizer, the vice president of the Navajo Nation, was also a proud supporter of Trump. He told the Associated Press that Native American values ​​- hard work, family and ranching – are more in line with Republicans than Democrats.

Our verdict: partly wrong

Based on our research, the posts are PARTIALLY FALSE. The statistics in Necefer’s tweet and Steyer and Reich’s posts are inaccurate – possibly because they come from an article that cites returns before the full vote count is available. However, it is true that among the three counties in Arizona that overlap the Navajo Nation, 58% of the vote went to Biden and 42% to Trump. Some individual counties in the Navajo Nation rose to 90% for Biden.

Our fact check sources:

  • Navajo Times, November 5th, Arizona Flips! Navajos are contributing to historical change
  • State of Arizona, accessed November 9th, general election
  • Apache County Arizona, accessed November 9, Election Summary Report
  • Coconino County Arizona, accessed November 9, 2020 General Election
  • Navajo County Arizona, accessed November 9, 2020 General Election
  • Arizona Republic, November 5, Navajo and Hopi voters go into effect on Election Day, hoping for a clear vote
  • High Country News, Nov. 6, How Indigenous Voters Affected the 2020 Elections
  • Shondiin silversmith, November 6, tweet
  • Fronteras Desk, Nov. 7, President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez: Indians helped Biden win
  • Navajo Times, Nov. 7, Diné reacts to Biden’s victory
  • Associated Press, Oct. 24, Minority makes Trump agenda largely unpopular with tribes

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