Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, tribal council challenge Supreme Court's election ruling

The Daily Times staff
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and the Navajo Nation Council are challenging the tribe's Supreme Court ruling for the April 21 special election.

Shelly filed a motion to intervene on Tuesday following the council's March 24 filing of a petition to have the high court reconsider its order, according to a joint statement issued Tuesday evening.

The statement was signed by Shelly and by Speaker LoRenzo Bates, on behalf of the council, and states that the Supreme Court overstepped its authority when it ordered the Navajo Election Administration to proceed with the special election as scheduled.

The high court also ordered the election administration to turn its attention to conducting the special election rather than on the referendum to amend the language fluency requirements for the presidency and vice presidency. The referendum was approved by both the council and by Shelly in March.

In the statement, both leaders affirm that the presidential election will take place after the referendum.

In addition to the president and council's filings, the Navajo Nation Department of Justice filed a motion for clarification on behalf of the tribe's acting Controller Robert Willie.

The statement goes on to explain that the high court showed disregard for the tribe's instructions for appropriating funds when the justices ordered Willie to transfer $317,000 to the election administration to conduct the election.

Early walk-in voting for the special election started March 26.