Navajo Board of Election Supervisors certifies referendum results

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors has certified the results of the July 21 referendum to amend the language qualifications for the tribal president and vice president.

All eight members of the election board voted to certify the results during a regular meeting Thursday in Window Rock, Ariz.

The official results show that 13,128 ballots were cast in favor of the referendum, and 11,861 ballots were cast against the measure, according to the Navajo Election Administration.

Voter participation was 21.1 percent nationwide.

The referendum amends the qualifications for the tribal president and vice president by having a candidate's ability to speak and understand Navajo and English be determined by voters when they cast their ballots.

Certification of the results came after the Navajo Nation's Office of Hearings and Appeals dismissed a grievance filed July 30 by a member of the Klagetoh Chapter in Arizona.

The grievance alleged that polling officials allowed a poster advocating the passage of the referendum to hang inside the chapter house as voting took place.

In addition to the poster, the grievance alleged a flier in favor of passing the referendum was posted on the chapter house door and a nonchapter member was inside the facility.

Chief Hearing Officer Richie Nez dismissed the complaint on Aug. 12, saying the plaintiff failed to show how the actions would have affected the outcome of the election.

Tribal law mandates that the election board certify election results if no one files an appeal to the Navajo Nation Supreme Court within 10 days of a lower court's decision.

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.