One of several billboards across the state of Arizona to mobilize Native voters in the 2020 Election. (MK Titla)

The Native Vote Is Not Code for “Navajo”

Among Arizona’s Indigenous electorate, the biggest support for Biden came from a county no one’s talking about.

Jenni Monet
Published in
5 min readNov 16, 2020

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For Native voters, this election year has dealt us one disappointing data dilemma after another. It began weeks leading up to Election Day when journalists casually cast us off as a “low voter turnout” demographic but with little statistical evidence to support these claims. On Election Night, cable news also quickly othered us into a category called “Something Else” as if to emphasize the decadeslong ignoring of the Indigenous electorate, overall. Yet, in each of these media gaffes, zero attention has been paid to the small but significant impact Native voters, everywhere, have had in recent elections where narrow victories have dramatically changed political course in some of the most hotly contested political races. Now, in an attempt to seemingly correct these missteps, the headlines read one thing — “Native Voters” — while the content is overwhelmingly fixated on another: the Navajo Nation. The frustration over such poor journalism is unending.

With all eyes on Arizona and its historic transition from red to blue(ish), it’s the Indigenous electorate…

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Jenni Monet
Indigenously

Journalist and media critic reporting on Indigenous Affairs | Founder of the weekly newsletter @Indigenous_ly | K’awaika (Laguna Pueblo) jennimonet.com