Voter participation in Navajo Nation primary election continues to grow

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — About 47 percent of registered voters on the Navajo Nation cast ballots in the primary election on Tuesday.

Out of 111,336 registered voters, 52,040 cast ballots, according to the unofficial voter participation report released by the Navajo Election Administration.

Participation in this year's primary election increased from the 2010 primary election. In 2010, 48,640 of the 110,645 registered voters cast ballots, amounting to about 44 percent participation.

Voter participation from 2010 to 2014 increased about 6 percent, and that could be because more young voters submitted ballots in the primary election, said Johnny Thompson, the tribe's Election Administration assistant program manager.

Young voters, those between the ages of 18 and 35, are becoming more aware of the issues facing the tribe and are supporting candidates who can address those issues, Thompson said.

He added that this year more people voted by absentee ballots and through early walk-in voting.

"Every day, we were swamped with people," he said of the early voting process.

In the Northern Agency, there were 10,207 ballots cast out of 22,558 registered voters.

The Eastern Agency had 11,621 ballots cast out of 25,906 registered voters; Fort Defiance Agency had 13,380 ballots cast out of 26,849 registered voters; Chinle Agency had 8,024 ballots cast out of 16,244 registered voters; and Western Agency had 8,808 ballots cast out of 19,779 registered voters.

Grievances about the unofficial results are due within 10 days of the primary election, Thompson said.

The results are unofficial until grievances are settled and the numbers are certified by the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors.

Candidates also have up to 10 days to file reports on campaign expenses and contributions.

In Tuesday's primary election, presidential candidate Joe Shirley Jr. garnered 10,910 votes, followed by Chris Deschene with 9,734 votes. The two men will face for the president's seat in the general election in November.

Both men have to name their running mates by early September, Thompson said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and

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