Officials working to post election results quickly

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, Aug. 21, 2014

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Election officials said Wednesday that they are working on ways to make sure that people interested in knowing who is ahead on election night get that information.

Johnny R. Thompson, deputy director of the Navajo Election Administration, said plans are being finalized to provide election results as quickly as possible to the radio and the news media so that people will be able to track how well the candidates are doing for president and for the Navajo Nation Council.

The election office, for the first time, is working on plans to have an Internet presences as well. The Navajo Times plans to post figures as soon as they come in to the paper's website and social media sites such as Facebook.

Thompson said the election office is hoping to post results by chapter and by Council district as well as keep a running total of who is ahead in the race for president.

"There's always going to be glitches," Thompson said, but the election office is hoping that people interested in the vote totals will be able to get them as soon as possible.

Some of the candidates running for president will also have people posted in the agency election offices so they will get a get the vote totals a little earlier than they will be posted at the Window Rock Sports Center where the figures will be released to the public.

At least two of the candidates running for president will have a major presence on election night.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly will have a large tent set up at his headquarters north of Basha's Supermarket in Window Rock. Former Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. has rented Nakai Hall on the fairgrounds.

The Shelly and Shirley campaigns, because they will be getting their results from campaign workers posted at the agency election offices, will have results earlier than those that will be posted at the sports center.

The public can observe the election as well at the sports center where chapter results are expected to start coming in about 7:30 p.m. If there are no major problems, most of the chapter results are expected to be in by 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The key to whether this works is how well the poll judges do their job on election night and Thompson said that most of the chapters will have poll judges who have been involved in many elections and know the procedure.

People who want to vote early can still do so at either the election office's Window Rock headquarters or at any of the agency election offices up until 5 p.m. on Friday.

Thompson said absentee ballots are no longer being mailed out but they will continue to be accepted until the polls close. He added that as of Wednesday, there were still a large number of absentee ballots that were sent out that had not been returned.

He reported some problems in mailing the absentee ballots with some being returned because the person had moved. The ballot was sent to the address on the voter registration card.

While no numbers are available of how many people are taking advantage of the early voting or asking for absentee ballots, Thompson said it appears that the number is higher than it was four years ago but "not as high as we hoped for."

The polls on Election Day will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone who is at the polling site at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

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