Navajo Riders Spend 3 Hours on Horseback to Get to the Polls to Cast Votes in 2020 Election

Navajo Nation
Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In the preemptively blue state of Arizona, every vote has mattered this election season. And for the Navajo Nation, where mail can take weeks to arrive, members were fearful of their ballots not getting counted in time. 

That's why 30-year-old Allie Young decided to lead her community to the polls –– on horseback. After nearly three hours and with 20 voters from the Indian Country beside her, the group galloped to their polling site on Tuesday. 

“Our ancestors fought for us on horseback to live a good life,” Frank Young, Young’s father, told The New York Times. “Now, we’re using this spiritual animal, the horse, to help us defeat our enemy.”

Allie Young is the director of Protect the Sacred, a grass-roots organization that seeks to empower young people in the Indian Country.

Just last month, Young lead a similar group of early voters. She told the outlet that the pandemic has mobilized Navajo voters who, in the springtime, were especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, which killed more than 500 people in the nation in the southwest United States.

“Sovereignty, land and health care,” she said. “Those are the top three things that affect our community, whether it’s regular health care or mental health care. That’s what we’re voting for.”

When President Donald Trump said that the state had "Republican DNA," she was quick to say otherwise.

“It bothered me,” she said. “Arizona has Indigenous DNA — whether it’s our communities of Indigenous people or the Latinx community, who are also indigenous to this land.”

Young says because Arizona would play a decisive role in the election, she was inspired to rally members of her community.

“We need to prove them wrong,” Ms. Young said. “We need to reclaim Arizona and we need to reclaim how we show up in these elections.”


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