Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Navajo election office gets $3M for ’22 contests


Last Friday, a total of $3 million was approved by the Navajo Nation Council during summer session for the Navajo Election Administration for the 2022 elections.

The funds will come from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance.

The legislation was introduced in the Budget & Finance Committee in May where it was passed onto the Naabik’iyati Committee. From there it moved to Council where it was finally passed to the president’s office where it will or will not be signed into law.

Election funding has been a concern for the election office over the past year as the Aug. 2 primary election creeps closer.

Rosita Kelly, director of the election office, has been outspoken about needs including new technology and temporary staff for the election season.

Another concern was the office in the Eastern Agency where staff is currently occupying a condemned building.

“Currently the offices are open even though the building is condemned, there’s other offices that are also in that building so the issue is the building is condemned just as many of the buildings across the Navajo Nation are,” Melvin Harrison, chairman of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, said.

Due to the building being condemned, the election office is looking for another venue. However, Harrison said this will not stop the election.

While the Eastern Agency building is a concern, Harrison says this is not the only agency with building problems. He said there are also problems with the Chinle building and the Fort Defiance building.

“I just want to say, we’ve been coming to the Navajo Nation Council for the six years I’ve been on the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, so I’m really glad that we are talking about this,” he said.

Another concern brought up during the meeting was if it was possible for the funds to be moved quickly to guarantee a fair election.

Dominic Beyal, executive director of the Office of Management and Budget, said it would be possible for the funds to be expedited for the election as long as Council approves it and the president signs it.

Delegate Daniel Tso motioned for a directive to OMB and the controller’s office to process the funding in a timely manner and to repair the office in Crownpoint no later than July 31.

The directive was approved by Council.

The legislation and directive now move to the president’s office for final approval.

About The Author

Hannah John

Hannah John is from Coyote Canyon, N.M. She is Bit’ah’nii (Within His Cover), born for Honágháahnii (One Who Walks Around), maternal grandfather is Tábaahí (Water Edge) and paternal grandfather is Tódich’ii’nii (Bitter Water). She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s in communications and a minor in Native American studies. She recently worked with the Daily Lobo and the Rio Grande Sun.


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