Tribe's election office waits for campaign expense statements
Reports were due 10 days after primary, general elections
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Several candidates for office in the tribe's primary and general elections have not filed campaign finance reports, the Navajo Election Administration reported to the election board on Thursday.
Statements for the primary election were due on Sept. 7 while the deadline for statements for the general election was Nov. 16.
Murray Lee, interim executive director for the election office, told the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors that employees have reached out to candidates who have not submitted reports.
"From what I'm hearing is that there's no contact coming from these candidates that haven't filed yet. We're getting to where we're contacting them at their offices, but they just don't respond," Lee said.
Ron Haven, an attorney for the election administration, said the election law requires candidates to file expense reports within 10 days of an election.
Election board members Mae-Gilene Begay and Bertha Aguirre expressed frustration about the matter.
"We can't continue to write to them (or) call them," Begay said.
Aguirre suggested revising election law to prevent a person from seeking office if they have a delinquent campaign finance report.
Melvin Harrison, election board chairman, said the board was drafting an amendment to establish penalties for failure to submit reports, but that process was paused due to the elections.
He added the action could resume after the presidential inauguration in January.
The list provided by the election administration shows Irvin Tyler and Matthew Tso, who both ran for the Navajo Nation Council, as the only candidates from the Northern Agency who have not filed expense statements for the general election.
There are 15 candidates throughout the Navajo Nation who have not submitted reports for the general election, and 11 candidates lacking reports for the primary election.
In the primary election, there were 18 candidates vying for the tribal presidency.
Of those candidates, Chinle Chapter member Norman Patrick Brown has not submitted a report, and the report filed by Dilkon Chapter member Shawn Redd is listed as incomplete.
Vice President and President-elect Jonathan Nez and former President Joe Shirley Jr. were the top two finishers for the presidency in the primary election and competed in the general election.
Nez and Shirley have filed statements for both elections. Their running mates, Myron Lizer and Buu Nygren, submitted reports for the general election.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.