Navajo Nation primary election on Tuesday

Noel Lyn Smith
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Navajo voters will narrow the candidate field for the tribe's presidency and the council among other offices during the primary election on Tuesday.

Each of the 110 chapter precincts will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Virginia Nelson, a voter registration specialist at the Navajo Election Administration office in Shiprock, said people can call any of the election offices today to check their voter registration status.

If their voter registration is inactive or they have been disenrolled, registration reopens on Sept. 5 and closes Oct. 6 for the general election.

Individuals who requested an absentee ballot by mail and have not returned the ballot should drop it off at the election office in Shiprock and not their registered chapter, Nelson said.

"If they go to the chapter, they have to surrender the ballot that was mailed to them," she said.

Once the ballot is surrendered, poll officials will issue the voter a new ballot.

Nelson said voters would be allowed to park near chapter precincts but have to leave the parking area immediately after voting.

She reminds people there is no campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place in New Mexico, 75 feet in Arizona and 150 feet in Utah.

The top two finishers in each race will move on to the Nov. 4 general election.

Seventeen candidates are vying for the tribal presidency.

The four presidential candidates from Shiprock Chapter are Russell Begaye, Donald Benally, Dan Smith and Duane "Chili" Yazzie.

Other candidates from New Mexico are incumbent President Ben Shelly, of Thoreau Chapter; Edison "Chip" Begay, of Tohatchi Chapter; Cal Nez, of Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter; and Edison J. Wauneka, of Crystal Chapter.

Also running for the presidency are Arizona residents Moroni Benally, of Tólikan Chapter; Chris Deschene and Dale E. Tsosie, both of LeChee Chapter; Kee Yazzie Mann, of K'ai'bii'tó Chapter; Carrie Lynn Martin, of Bodaway-Gap Chapter; Kenneth Maryboy, of Mexican Water Chapter; Myron McLaughlin and Joe Shirley Jr., both of Chinle Chapter; and Hank Whitethorne, of Shonto Chapter.

In the race for the council, Myron K. Begay, Ray Begaye, Wallace Charley, Tom Chee, Lula Jackson, William Lee, Wilbur M. Nelson Jr., Rose Fasthorse Nofchissey and Jerry Jay Todacheene are competing to represent Shiprock Chapter.

Incumbent David L. Tom is challenged by Eloise Brown, Amber Kanazbah Crotty, Larry Duncan, Stanley Hardy, Everett Howe and J.R. Hunt to represent the chapters of Beclabito, Cove, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Red Valley, Sheepsprings, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í.

Steven S. Begay, Herman Farley, Davis Filfred, David L. John and Francis Redhouse are vying to represent the chapters of Aneth, Mexican Water, Red Mesa, Teec Nos Pos and Tólikan.

Incumbent LoRenzo Bates faces George Arthur in the race to represent the Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tsé Daa K'aan and Upper Fruitland chapters.

Watona Kellywood, of Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter, is running for the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors and Bernadette Todacheene, of Shiprock Chapter, is running for the Navajo Board of Education. Both are running unopposed for the Northern Agency seats.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636. Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.