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San Carlos voter questions if voting rights were violated

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 13th, 2012

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Elizabeth Belvado exercised her right to vote on Nov. 6. Now, she is questioning if her right to a secret ballot was breached after being confronted about who she voted for.

Dear Editor:

My name is Elizabeth Belvado Long. I am a resident of the Peridot District. I would like to share an incident that happened to me on Nov. 7.

First, I also would like to let everybody know I am handicapped due to a terrible disease. Now both my hands and feet have been amputated. My life now is not an active life, but I am glad to God every day I live for my kids, grandkids, extended family and my immediate family.

On Nov. 7, 2012 as I was sitting on our back porch, a relative of Peridot councilmember Wendsler Nosie Sr. jumped the fence and approached me. My first thought was we would have a visit of good communication, as we had several times before, but to my surprise he started to be upset with me.

The next words that came out of his mouth were, “my uncle Wendsler had a question about you. He believed you voted for somebody else.” I told him people have choices given to us by the Constitution of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, including who we get to vote for. I also told him our votes are sacred and we have our right to participate.

He got really upset with me and told me, “You are nothing but a crazy old lady who sits in a wheelchair.” His words hurt, and to think our own elected District Councilmembers would instill these thoughts into their supporters’ minds, so they can approach our membership to question them. I cried most of the day, but as the next two days went on, I got stronger and started to think about how many other people are treated this way.

I did not ask to be handicapped, but I am dealing with it in the best possible way. To our Peridot District members: are we being treated equally, fairly, and most importantly, being protected by our elected officials, like the Constitution states?

On a daily basis, I pray for our Tribe, its people, relatives and families. I also will continue to pray for the individual who came to me and put me down. I still have my mind and heart to continue to be a contributing member of the our San Carlos Apache Tribe.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Belvado Long

Peridot District Member

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