Voter registration for Navajo Nation referendum election closes Monday

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Voter registration for the July 21 referendum election on the language fluency requirement for the Navajo president and vice president closes at 5 p.m. Monday.

Virginia Nelson, a voter registration specialist at the Navajo Election Administration office in Shiprock, said individuals who have been inactive in voting or need to change information such as their name, address or chapter affiliation need to register.

In order to register to vote, the person must be 18 years or older and bring their Certificate of Indian Blood, Social Security card and a photo identification card.

Individuals who voted in the November general election or in the presidential special election in April do not need to register, Nelson said.

She added that individuals can check their voter status by contacting the agency election office.

Also starting on Monday, voters can request absentee ballots or cast ballots by early walk-in voting.

To receive an absentee ballot by mail, voters must fill out an absentee ballot application, which is available under the "Forms" tab on the election administration's website.

The deadline for those applications is July 6, according to the timeline set by the election administration.

Nelson said personnel from the Shiprock office will pick up ballots today from the main election office in Window Rock, Ariz.

The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors approved the ballot language for the referendum election in May.

The referendum will ask voters whether or not to amend the language qualifications for the president and vice president so the candidates' ability to speak and understand Navajo and English would be determined by voters when they cast ballots.

Current tribal law mandates the president and vice president must fluently speak and understand Navajo, as well as read and write English.

The Navajo Nation Council approved the referendum election after a presidential candidate was disqualified for refusing to take a fluency test during last year's election.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 21.

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