Large voter turnout expected
By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times
Navajo Nation election officials said they are expecting a high turnout in Tuesday’s general election.
With slightly more than 95,000 Navajos registered to vote, election officials are expecting a turnout rate as high as 75 percent, which means that between 70,000 and 75,000 tribal members would be voting for president and Council delegates.
Both campaigns – Vice President Jonathan Nez and Joe Shirley Jr.– on Tuesday expressed a high degree of optimism that their candidate would win.
Although Nez easily won the primary with 14,397 votes to 6,871 for Shirley, the general feeling is that the election Tuesday will be a lot closer. Because of the size of his primary victory, Nez would be considered the slight favorite but tribal politics has in recent years thrown a lot of curves.
After all, Shirley came in first in the previous primary and then lost the general election to Russell Begaye, who had come in a distant third.
Throughout his campaign to become the next president, Nez has benefited from the view that he is more popular than Shirley.
Meanwhile Shirley has scored points for being the candidate who won when it came to the issues.