Council passes legislation to let voters decide if candidate is fluent in language
ABOVE: Navajo Nation Vice presidential candidate Fannie Atcitty, smiles with supporters after the 22nd Navajo Nation Council votes to remove the Navajo language requirement by a vote of 11-10-1 early Friday morning in Window Rock. “It’s great for our voters, our veterans and elderly. It’s a win for what we have been dealing with for the last several days,” Atcitty said. (Times photo – Donovan Quintero)
After hours of seemingly endless debate, the Navajo Nation Council voted just after midnight last night to let voters decide for themselves if their Navajo Nation president candidate is fluent in the Navajo language.
Pro Tem Speaker LoRenzo Bates had to step in and break a 10 to 10 tie to pass the resolution as people in the audience cheered.
In breaking the tie, Bates said he was prepared to deal with the consequences of his vote, Bates’ vote gives Chris Deschene, who was disqualified by the Office of Hearings and Appeals on Oct. 9, another chance to keep his name on the ballot.
The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors met on Thursday to discuss the upcoming Nov. 4 general election and adjourned, deciding to meet again on Friday. The Navajo Supreme Court, in a ruling issued on Thursday, postponed the election. However, with the council’s passing of the amendment, it’s uncertain how will it affect that.
Fanny Atcitty, who is Deschene’s running mate, said after the council vote, “It’s great for our voters, our veterans and elderly. It’s a win for what we have been dealing with for the last several days.”
The council’s resolution still needs to be signed off by Navajo Nation Presient Ben Shelly. One of his aides, Deswood Tome, said Wednesday that Shelly will make a decision immediately after he receives the resolution.
Deschene stated on his Facebook page that his campaign continues.
“The Navajo Nation Council passed legislation that respects our fundamental right to choose our own leaders. I am grateful for, and honored by, the many supporters who have stood with us,” he wrote.