Navajo election board decides candidate order on primary election ballot

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Marilyn Yazzie enters the San Juan Chapter House in Lower Fruitland to cast her vote on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors finalized the order official candidates will appear on the ballot for the tribe's primary election in August.

Murray Lee, department manager for the Navajo Election Administration, said board members conducted a random drawing for placement for all positions during a regular meeting on Thursday.

The names of those vying for the tribal presidency will appear on the ballot in this order: Benny Bahe, Russell Begaye, Tom Chee, Jonathan Nez, Calvin Lee Jr., Joe Shirley Jr., Vincent H. Yazzie, Rex Lee Jim, Norman Patrick Brown, Trudie Jackson, Shawn T. Redd, Alton Joe Shepherd, Emily Ellison, Tom Tso, Kevin Cody, Hope MacDonald-Lonetree, Nick X. Taylor and Dineh Benally.

When the filing period closed May 30, there were 19 individuals who submitted candidacy applications for the presidency.

Lee said the election administration reviewed the applications and Lester Begay, of Whiterock Chapter, was determined ineligible to run for president.

Begay was disqualified because he was recalled as chapter president for Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter in 2014, Lee said.

He added the Navajo Election Code prohibits any official removed from office as eligible to run for any tribal elective office for a minimum of eight years.

Begay did not file an appeal to overturn his disqualification, according to the tribe's Office of Hearings and Appeals.

On Thursday, the election administration released the certified list of candidates for the Aug. 28 primary election.

Ballot positions for other offices

The election office certified the 18 individuals from the Northern Agency who are seeking seats on the Navajo Nation Council and other offices.

The ballot order for candidates seeking to represent Shiprock Chapter on the tribal council is Vern R. Lee, Nevina D. Kinlahcheeny, Dan Smith, Marian John, Eugenia Charles-Newton and Cheryl George.

For the Beclabito, Cove, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Red Valley, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills, Tooh Haltsooí and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í chapters, the ballot layout will be Amber Kanazbah Crotty, Lee J. Zhonnie and Irvin Tyler.

The placement for the Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tsé Daa K'aan and Upper Fruitland chapters is Rickie Nez then Matthew D. Tso.

For the Aneth, Mexican Water, Red Mesa, Teec Nos Pos and Tólikan chapters, the positions are Charlaine Tso, Davis Filfred, Herman Farley and David L. John.

There were challenges filed against the candidacy for Rickie Nez and David L. John, but both were dismissed by the Office of Hearings and Appeals, according to the election administration.

Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter member Watona Kellywood is the sole candidate for the election board for the Northern Agency.

In the race for Naschitti Community Governance in Naschitti Chapter, the ballot position will be Hoskie Bryant then Micheal T. Clani.

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