WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo voters will cast ballots today as polls at the chapter houses are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Navajo Elections Office Director Edison Wueneka said he hopes that unofficial results for the presidential race will be tallied by 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

Nonetheless voters will have to choose from presidential and council delegate candidates. Here are a list of the 10 presidential candidates with their platforms and a listing of council delegate hopefuls:

Current Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. is seeking his second term in office. Though he has received criticism for program failures like Head Start and the Boys and Girls Club, he cites several accomplishments as his main platform. He credits his administration for eliminating the Bureau of Indian Affairs from the business site leasing process and bringing the Desert Rock Power Plant initiative to the Navajo Nation.

Vice President Frank Dayish Jr. announced in May that he was seeking the presidential seat. Though he has received criticism for remaining vice president under Shirley while campaigning for president, he claims economic development as his primary platform. He is also credited with bring the Helmets to Hardhats program closer to a reality on the Navajo Nation.

Ernest Harry Begay of Rock Point, is a former chief of stafffor the president's office.


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The first candidate to officially announce his intentions, Begay said he wants to establish a youth council to address issues such as methamphetamine and gangs, and he plans to make Navajo Nation employees more accountable.

Vern Lee, originally from Aneth, Utah, announced his intentions to seek the presidential office, but was disqualified early because his address was off the reservation. He appealed and eventually got the decision overturned. He has the support of former chairman and president Peter MacDonald. He also said he wants to create a youth council to address youth related problems.

James Henderson Jr., of Ganado, Ariz., is a veteran who, if elected, plans to create a system more workable for veterans. One aspect of his plan is to create a Veteran's Division within the Navajo government. He is also a former Arizona state senator.

Lynda Lovejoy, of Crownpoint, is the only woman seeking the presidential seat this election year. She brings seven years of experience as a New Mexico Public Regulation commissioner. One of the issues she said she would tackle is a reduction of the Navajo Council. She also advocates for power to be brought back to the chapters.

Wilbur Nelson Jr., originally from Pueblo Pintado, is an advocate for economic development. He brings experience as a former director of the Navajo office of management and budget, as well as holding a similar position with the Toas Pueblo. He also has a master's degree in business administration, which he said will help him implement his "Master Plan" to invigorate the Navajo economy.

Hoskie Bryant, of Sheepsprings, is a preacher who supports a spiritual presence in the presidential office.

Calvin Tsosie, of Yah-Ta-Hey, is a medicine man and said there is a need for change. During last week's forum he said he was in favor of the Iraq war, but doesn't like the fact that Navajo service men and women were overseas fighting. He also said he would listen to the concerns of the Navajo people, if he is elected.

Harrison Todacheenie, of Shiprock, also said he would listen to the people if elected and advocated for a return of the government back to the people. He also sates the people can figure out solutions to the government's problems.

Jon Reeves, of Fruitland, announced his withdrawal from the presidential race during last week's forum.

Council Delegates

In Shiprock, the field will be narrowed to six contenders who will face off in the general election to fight for the three seats to represent Shiprock in Window Rock.

There are 10 candidates:

Pete Ken Atcitty, Richard T. Begaye, Wallace Charley, Ruseell Martin Lewis, Donald Benally, Leonard Anthony, Joe Smart, Jonathan Tso, Tom Chee Jr. and GloJean Todacheene.

Of the 10, three — Atcitty, Begaye and Wallace — are seeking reelection.

Hogback has two contenders, according to Navajo Election Office documents. The two are Melvin Kellywood and incumbent Ervin Keeswood.

In Upper Fruitland, LoRenzo Bates is unopposed.