FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2018
BETTER UTAH CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO SAN JUAN COUNTY CLERK’S ALLEGEDLY DOCTORED COMPLAINT
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, a federal judge ordered that Willie Grayeyes, Utah Navajo activist and Democratic candidate for the San Juan County Commission be reinstated to the ballot, holding that he was improperly removed by San Juan County officials. Earlier this year, Mr. Grayeyes was removed from the ballot after San Juan County Clerk John David Nielson determined he did not reside in the county.
Sources claimed the complaint used as the basis to remove Mr. Grayeyes from the ballot was improperly backdated so that it would appear to be submitted before the filing deadline. In court, Judge Nuffer said further investigation is merited into how the complaint was backdated.
Katie Matheson, communications director with Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement in response:
“We are pleased to hear that Willie Grayeyes will be on the November ballot. The incidents surrounding his removal from the ballot and the ultimate removal itself are prime examples of racism at work in our systems. We are glad to see that justice has again prevailed after attempts to quell voices of the Native American community in San Juan County.
“The potential that a backdated complaint resulted in a candidate being kicked off the ballot is deeply concerning. We call on San Juan County officials to obtain an independent investigation into the alleged backdating by county clerk John David Nielson. If the allegations are found to be true, Mr. Nielson should resign from office, either for discriminatory behavior or for his incompetent handling of this complaint. The people of San Juan County deserve a county clerk they can trust will handle complaints with integrity and competency.”
This is the second time recently that a federal judge has ruled in favor of the Native American community in San Juan County– the first being the recent case striking down gerrymandered San Juan County commission district boundaries. Better Utah board member, David Irvine, is a part of Grayeyes’ legal team.
Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.