Navajo, Hopi, and Apache voters and organizers helped deliver Arizona for the Democrats! Thanks to the Daily Kos community and your tremendous support we got the job done. You helped us raise over $300K!
In July, I shared my story with you and why I returned home to Arizona to help organize Native voters. The Daily Kos community stepped up and donated to our efforts. We deeply appreciate your generous support.
When the news networks announced Joe Biden the projected winner of the presidential race, I was sitting with my mother at her kitchen table having coffee. Our Navajo radio station KTNN was on in the background, and my father just turned on cable news. All of a sudden we heard breaking news in Navajo and in English and our home erupted in cheers. My teenaged niece ran into the room, “Did Kamala win?!” To which we all responded, yes! This was a precious moment to share with my family.
In the weeks and months leading up to Election Day, our team of Northeast Arizona Native organizers were in full force registering voters up to the last day, which kept changing, and then getting out the early vote in every safe possible way. COVID-19 cases started rising again across Arizona and on the Navajo Nation. After early voting ended, our only goal was to get our community members to the polls on Election Day and mail-in ballots returned on time.
We advertised drop-box locations, early voting locations, ran radio ads, coordinated literature drops, utilized social media, print media, had folks standing in high traffic areas with signs reminding our communities to vote and directing folks to the polls. We had car parades, cars to the polls, and in one of the most awesome displays of cultural pride and representation, partners on the White Mountain Apache reservation organized a Vote As a Tribe March the day before the election and had their traditional Crown Dancers lead community members to the polls in Whiteriver, AZ. This is the power of local Indigenous organizing.
Marian, an Apache field organizer from White Mountain, recalled a day when they seemed overwhelmed by the challenges, but all of that lifted when her community showed up to vote.
- Tribes helped turn Arizona blue in a presidential election for only the second time in the past 72 years.
- Native voters, on tribal lands, in Apache, Navajo, Coconino, Gila, and Graham counties overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden/Kamala Harris, Mark Kelly, Tom O’Halleran, and all our Democratic candidates up and down the ticket. This was visually indicated by the widely circulated Arizona Central story about Native voters written by journalist Shondiin Silversmith of the Navajo Nation. [see image]
Organizers and volunteers coordinated weekly phone and texting banks, drove thousands of miles to pick up and post signs, deliver registration forms, PPE, food, firewood, water, hay for livestock and more. We had Priscilla and John who wrote and created fun and informative radio ads in Navajo and English. Well respected leaders like Peterson Zah recorded radio ads and videos in Navajo and English. We had videos recorded in Navajo and English that explained and showed the vote by mail process and how to return your ballot.
We had volunteers all over the country who stepped up and created social media ads for us, made graphics for us, crafted emails, newsletters, wrote postcards, and connected us to donors.
The five counties we covered increased voter registration by over 21,000 new voters in the past year, early voter and overall turnout by ~48,000 voters, which was nearly a 50% increase in early vote turnout and around a 30% increase in overall turnout.
Apache County currently shows an almost 70% voter turnout, Coconino County a little over 80% and in the precincts on tribal lands in Navajo, Gila, and Graham counties, there was 82% to 85% voter turnout.
See a list and results of the Democratic candidates we supported in each of the counties we covered here: bit.ly/neazndcandidates
For more highlights visit our team page: https://neaznativedemocrats.org/team
Building the Bench
We don't want our program and efforts to end. We want our organizers to go on and lead more campaigns, run for office, be a force in their counties and communities, and serve in leadership positions in the Democratic Party.
This is what all of this work has been for, to build a bench so we have Native representation at all levels. We know President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and Senator-elect Mark Kelly are not going to solve everything. The pandemic won’t just disappear, but by electing new leadership it’s a step in the right direction. And we organizers and voters from the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, San Carlos and White Mountain Apache tribes are going to continue to step up and hold leaders accountable because it doesn't stop here. We can't just invest in a community for an election year and then walk away.
We already wrote the playbook, now we need the resources. We are currently planning several meetings to review lessons learned, creating pathways to increase county and party leadership, and set financial goals.
Continue to join us in this cause. Watch the work of Northeast Arizona Native Democrats by signing up for our newsletter and staying connected through our website and social media platforms. Together we can make good trouble.
Donate at: https://neaznativedemocrats.org/neaz-native-dems
We are changing Arizona and national politics and our collective future.
Ahéhee’ / Ashagoteh / Askwali / Thank you
Thank you organizers, volunteers, donors, leaders, supporters, and partners for making good trouble. We are ever grateful for the months/years of registering voters, educating, responding to the pandemic, protecting our communities, and standing with us. #NativeVote20
Navajo County Democrats-Northeast Arizona Native Democrats
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