As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, a federal judge has ruled against officials in Utah -- who claimed the candidate did not live in the region -- citing they had improperly removed Willie Grayeyes, Navajo, from the County Commission ballot in November.
According to Grayeyes’ attorney, Steven Boos, U.S. District Judge David Nuffer restored Greyeye’s voting rights and ordered his name back onto the ballot.
Officials claimed they had “clear and convincing evidence” to remove Grayeyes, saying "he was not a Utah resident and that he wasn’t qualified to run for the commission."
Back in April, Grayeyes told The Salt Lake Tribune his concerns about being labeled a non-Utah resident, even though State Elections Director Justin Lee had confirmed that Grayeyes had participated in every general election since 1992, except 1996, yet he was still removed from the campaign.
Grayeyes was removed from the ballot by County Clerk John David Nielson. Navajo Nation officials condemned Nielson’s actions in The Salt Lake Tribune.
"It appears that Mr. Nielson backdated official county documents in an attempt to strip Willie Grayeyes of his candidacy. It’s clear that Nielson made egregious, if not purposeful, errors in disqualifying Mr. Willie Grayeyes as a candidate,” Leonard Gorman, executive director of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, said in the Tribune.
Boos told The Salt Lake Tribune, “He’s glad to get past this part of it because he would like to help guide the county in a direction where the county is solving problems for all the citizens of the county.”
In addition to Grayeyes’ successful return, the county recently announced the victory of Native candidate Kenneth Maryboy for another commission seat.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling