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Election board certifies all but three delegate seats

WINDOW ROCK

The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors certified the Nov. 8 general election results two days before Thanksgiving.

It didn’t take long for the election board to certify the votes after discussing a letter from the Jonathan Nez-Chad Abeyta campaign in a closed meeting that asked the board if they could consider their release of information request.

According to a response letter from the Navajo Election Administration, signed by Rosita Kelly, the election administration’s executive director, the Nez-Abeyta letter was denied because it was “received after normal busy hours.”

While Nez and Abeyta could inspect public records, according to the Navajo Nation Privacy Act, the board of election supervisors wrote in its Nov. 23 response that they had to pay 10 cents for every page copied. However, “all information deemed confidential, including names of voters, their votes, their phone numbers, and residential addresses, are confidential and will not be disclosed or released,” the response letter read.

The election board wrote the pair requested the board “initiate” a recount. The board rejected their request, stating they found no “substantial irregularities in the voting or the counting of the ballots.” In addition, they wrote Nez and Abeyta did not pay the required $50 per poll site fee necessary to for a recount to occur.

Former Navajo Nation presidential candidate Emily Ellison paid $5,500 to have all 110 chapters do a recount of the primary voting results. The recount was held at Window Rock’s Department of Diné Education building.

Because they did not pay for a recount within 10 days after Nov. 8, the board wrote, “it would be unlawful for NEA (Navajo Election Administration) to conduct a recount.”

Raymond Maxx, vice chair for the election board, said the board had to go into an executive session to talk about the request made by Nez and Abeyta. The board came out of their closed meeting and certified the Nov. 8 election results.

“We moved forward; we certified all the elected positions,” Maxx said on Nov. 22.

Maxx said the only results they did not certify were the grievances filed with the Office of Hearings and Appeals. Those votes, assuming the cases are adjudicated or dismissed, will be certified at the next regular election board meeting. If they are dismissed or have been decided, Maxx said those results would be certified Dec. 8. In the meantime, the three race results remain unofficial.

“We just kind of leave it up to the process over there – the legal and technical. Once it’s cleared, then we come back and certify them,” he said.

The three grievances filed by Mathew Tso, Edison Wauneka, and Leonard Tsosie have all been dismissed, according to the Office of Hearings and Appeals. While OHA has dismissed all three cases, their cases go back to the election administration, where they’ll review them. If they are dismissed there or if a recount was granted and is completed, the results could be certified during the board of election supervisor meeting Dec. 8.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Rickie Nez, who was re-elected, attends the 25th Navajo Nation Council orientation on Monday at the Twin Arrows Casino in Flagstaff. Nez’s Nov. 8 general election results, in which he unofficially defeated challenger Mathew Tso, won’t be certified until the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors discussion was dismissed by the Office of Hearings and Appeals.

On Monday, Rickie Nez was in attendance during an orientation for the returning incumbents and newly elected delegates who’ll be making up the 25th Navajo Nation Council. The orientation was held at the Twin Arrows Casino in Flagstaff.

Navajo Nation president-elect Buu Nygren also attended the Council delegate orientation on Monday. He said he wanted to be there in person to show his support for their appointments.

“I told them that, ‘I’m here. I campaigned on working with Council very closely.’ And I just wanted to be here with the new incoming delegates that are being orientated,” Nygren said on Monday at Twin Arrows. “I want to support them, that all are causes are the same, whether you’re from Eastern Navajo, or Western Navajo, Northern Navajo, Central Navajo – that the issues are the same.”

Nygren and his vice presidential running mate Richelle Montoya from Torreon, New Mexico, defeated incumbent Jonathan Nez and his running mate Chad Abeyta. Their results were certified. Nygren and Montoya increased their vote count by 322, while Nez and Abeyta increased theirs by 270.

The biggest gain in the Council delegate race went to Vince James, who increased his tally by 53 votes, against challenger Richie Nez, who increased his count by nine.

The vote count did not change for Shawna Ann Claw or Leland Leonard. Claw defeated Leonard, 1,060 to 838, for the seat representing Chinle.

According to the certified Nov 8 results, 65,416 out of 123,359, or 53.03%, registered Navajo voters went to the polls.

San Juan Chapter in the Northern Agency had the highest turnout of voters, with 349 out of 499 registered voters, or 69.94%, going to the polls to cast their votes. Counselor Chapter had the lowest turnout, according to the Nov 8 certified results, with 242 out of 626 registered voters, or 38.66%, that went to the polls.

Chinle Agency, having the least number of registered voters at 17,276 electors had the highest turnout out of all the agencies. The election administration reported 9,418 people voted. Western Agency, which has 21,481 registered voters, had the lowest – 51.55%, or 11,073 registered voters who traveled to their respective chapters and voted for their candidates.

PRESIDENTIAL

Buu Nygren/Richelle Montoya gained 322 votes

Jonathan Nez/Chad Abeyta gained 270 votes

Dilcon, Indian Wells, Teesto, Whitecone, Greasewood

Lee Jack Sr gained 27 votes

Cherilyn Yazzie gained 42 votes

Chinle

Shawna Ann Claw did not gain any votes

Dr. Leland Leonard did not gain any votes

Black Mesa, Hard Rock, Pinon, Whippoorwill, Forest Lake

Germaine Simonson gained 17 votes

Malcolm M. Logg gained 16 votes

Tachíí/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Tsélání/Cottonwood, Low Mountain

Crystalyne Curley gained 26 votes

Kee Allen Begay gained 30 votes

Coppermine, K’ai’bii’tó, LeChee, Tonalea/Red Lake, Bodaway/Gap

Helena Nez Begay gained 17 votes

Paul Begay gained 18 votes

Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, Kayenta

Shaandiin Parrish gained 15 votes

Nathaniel Brown gained 11 votes

Shiprock

Eugenia Charles-Newton gained 25 votes

Russell Begaye gained 16 votes

Cove, Toadlena/Two Grey Hills, Red Valley, Tsé ‘Ałnáozt’i’í’, Tooh Haltsooí, Beclabito, Gadíí’áhí/Tókǫ’í

Amber Kanazbah Crotty gained 37 votes

Lindsey Leighann Benally gained 17 votes

Bááhááli, Chéch’iltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh

Seth Damon gained 18 votes. Ran unopposed.

Ts’ahbiikin, Navajo Mountain, Shonto, Oljato

Herman Daniels Jr gained 9 votes

Henry Stevens gained 6 votes

Becenti, Lake Valley, Nihodeeshgiizh, Standing Rock, Whiterock, Huerfano, Nageezi, Crownpoint

Danny Simpson gained 21 votes

Mark Freeland gained 11 votes

Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, Bahastł’ah

Nathan Notah gained 41 votes

Olin Kieyoomia gained 34 votes

Alamo, Ramah, Tóhajiileehé

Norman M. Begay gained 3 votes

Jamie Henio gained 2 votes

Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinłichíí, Steamboat

Vince James gained 53 votes

Richie Nez gained 9 votes

Tsaile/Wheatfields, Lukachukai, Round Rock, Tséch’ízhí, Rock Point

Carl Slater gained 9 votes

Crystal Littleben gained 10 votes

Klagetoh, Wide Ruins, Houck, Lupton, Nahat’á Dziil

Lomardo Aseret gained 15 votes

Arbin Mitchell gained 15 votes

Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake, Sawmill

Andy Nez gained 42 votes

Wilson Stewart Jr gained 37 votes

Mexican Water, Tó’łikan, T’iisnázbąs, Aneth, Red Mesa

Curtis Yanito gained 9 votes

Davis Filfred gained 8 votes

Tuba City

Otto Tso gained 19 votes

Angie Williams gained 9 votes

Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Birdsprings, Leupp, Tolani Lake

Casey Allen Johnson gained 12 votes

Thomas Walker Jr gained 10 votes

Churchrock, ‘Ayání Bito’, Mariano Lake, Pinedale, Smith Lake, Thoreau

Steven R. Arviso gained 9 votes

Edmund Yazzie gained 13 votes

As of Nov. 22, in the Council delegate race, three seats have not yet been certified and remain unofficial. They are:

T’iistó, Sikaad, Niinahnízaad, Tsédaak’áán, Newcomb, San Juan

Rickie Nez: 1,638

Mathew Tso: 1,578

Littlewater, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake, Baca/Prewitt, Casamero Lake, Ojo Encino, Counselor

George Tolth: 1,478

Leonard Tsosie: 1,437

Oak Springs, St. Michaels

Brenda Jesus: 1,016

Edison Wauneka: 612


About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero is assistant editor of the Navajo Times, and an award-winning Diné journalist, who is based in Window Rock, Arizona. He can be contacted at dq@navajotimes.com.

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