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FARMINGTON – The Navajo Election Administration has opened the candidacy filing period to fill a position on the Navajo Nation Council.

On April 15, the election administration declared a vacancy for the seat to represent the Bahastl’ah, Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti and Tohatchi chapters.

The seat opened after the election administration removed former council Delegate Mel R. Begay after a jury found him guilty in March of one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and nine counts of permitting false vouchers for allegedly misusing more than $30,000 from the financial assistance program.

Under Navajo law, a delegate cannot be convicted of a crime while in office, and a conviction for certain offenses can result in automatic removal.

Begay may file a grievance with the tribe's Office of Hearings and Appeals within 10 days, according to the election administration.

Individuals who are interested in applying for the position must file a notarized candidate application with the Fort Defiance Agency Election Office in Window Rock, Ariz. The filing fee is $500. The filing period closes at 5 p.m. Friday.

For more information about filing, contact the Fort Defiance Agency Election Office at 1-866-800-4988.

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