The Hopi and Navajo Nations reported record numbers of voters in this year’s election, with many choosing the Biden-Harris ticket in the Presidential race.
The impact of Native voters was felt in other races, too, as we learned from Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Deputy Managing Editor of Indian Country Today.
Bennett-Begaye started by sharing about two maps that show how most of the reservation areas of Arizona aligned with precinct data that was democratic. She also shared that she was amazed by the level of grassroot-level organizations that worked across the Navajo Nation to mobilize voters.
Bennett-Begaye contributes a lot of the engagement in the 2020 Election to young voters, as they would encourage elders through social media to participate in the election.
“A lot of young people were getting more involved, and I think that’s what this pandemic has pushed people, to innovate, to try to think of new ideas and think outside the box,” Bennett-Begaye said.
Bennett-Begaye believes Native voters wanted to see a candidate that would help support their tribal lands, and she said they “saw that in Biden.”
She mentioned that there were more Native candidates running for office across the country in this election than in the 2018 Midterm Election and the past elections.
“That’s how they want to see change in their community,” Bennett-Begaye said.
Some of the issues that Native voters wanted to address were a better COVID-19 response, climate change and responding to missing or murdered indigenous girls on the reservation.
While Bennett-Begaye shared that some Native voters stuck with presidential elect Donald Trump, several Native voters wanted to see greater change, so they voted for presidential elect Joe Biden.
“The Native vote has always been something that has impacted all the elections, and now I think people are seeing that more and more,” Bennett-Begaye said.