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Judge: San Juan County election maps must be redrawn again

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge has ruled for the second time that the boundaries of election districts in a southeastern Utah county are unconstitutional and violate the rights of American Indians who make up roughly half the county's population.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ordered San Juan County to redraw its county commission and school board election districts last year after he ruled they were unconstitutional.

Shelby ruled last week that the county's new maps are still unconstitutional and primarily drawn based on race.

The lawsuit challenging the districts was filed by the Navajo Nation five years ago.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said in a statement Wednesday that the Navajo people living in San Juan County need an equal voice instead of being packed into gerrymandered districts.

San Juan County commissioners did not return messages seeking comment.

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