Long lines, coronavirus restrictions didn't deter Election Day enthusiasm on Navajo Nation
SHIPROCK — Voters lined up outside the Shiprock Chapter house to cast ballots for local offices as part of the Navajo Nation Chapter General Election on Nov. 3.
Shiprock residents Henderson and Laura Joe said their wait time after 4 p.m. was not too bad and the process went smoothly.
"It was all right," Henderson Joe said adding he voted for female candidates because they might provide different leadership for the Northern Agency's largest chapter.
Laura Joe said she did the same.
"In the last few years that I lived here, I've seen no changes at all," she said adding that current officials have yet to bring the new businesses they promised.
Election Day on the Navajo Nation usually has candidates campaigning to up to the last minute and sharing platforms while serving hot bowls of soup, frybread and coffee.
Due to concerns about coronavirus infections, the Navajo Election Administration and the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors implemented public health safety guidelines for voting at polling places and discouraged candidates from setting up food stands.
Navajo officials encouraged tribal members to vote early or by absentee ballot to void large crowds and wait times on Tuesday.
But Henderson Joe and Laura Joe said they prefer casting their ballots on Election Day because they think it ensures their votes are counted.
At Naschitti Chapter, Dollie Tsosie was among those waiting to vote because poll officials were closely monitoring the number of people allowed inside the chapter house at a time.
Components that Tsosie, 84, missed this election were talking to candidates and the social interaction that occurs at polling places, but she understood why that was not happening.
Despite the difference this year, Tsosie said she has yet to miss an election since she started voting in the 1960s.
Sheep Springs resident Corina McDonald wore an "I voted" sticker with the words written in English and the Navajo language on her shirt.
"I wanted to be counted and be accepted," McDonald said were her reasons to vote at the Tooh Haltsooí Chapter house.
Unofficial results from election office
Here are the unofficial results for chapters in the Northern Agency and in San Juan County. Results remain unofficial until certified by the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors. The complete list can be viewed on the Navajo Election Administration website.
• Navajo Board of Election Supervisors (agency seat)
Martha Saggboy 7,177
Wilbert Y. Mark 4,169
• Toadlena/Two Grey Hills Chapter – Ballots cast: 473
President: Kerby Johnson 408
Vice President: Andrew Dechenie 416
Secretary-Treasurer: Leonarda J. Eldridge 263, Angie Frank 202
Grazing Committee Member: Derry Lewis 448
• Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter – Ballots cast: 924
President: Jeanne Haskie 581, Frank Smith 195, Tommy Tsosie 41, Wilbert Ben Lee 104
Vice President: Gerald Henderson 844
Secretary-Treasurer: Jourdan Washburn 551, Ramnita Henderson 352
Grazing Committee Member: Wilfred B. Lee Jr. 274, Alonzo Cohoe 443, Eloise Brown 191
• Tooh Haltsooí Chapter – Ballots cast: 361
Council of Naataani President: Brian T. Yazzie 255, Tommy Sandman 104
Council of Naataani Vice President: Louise Charley 248
Council of Naataani Secretary-Treasurer: Sally Ann Joe 298
Grazing Committee Member: Jimson Bryant 181, Julius L. Todacheene 171
• Shiprock Chapter – Ballots cast: 2,376
President: Matthew White 894, Nevina D. Kinlahcheeny 991, Nathaniel Ellison 464
Vice President: Richard T. Begaye 585, Debra A. Yazzie 1,345, Loretta John 393
Secretary-Treasurer: J. Kaibah Begay 1,917
Grazing Committee Member: Lander Morris 891, Donald Benally 348, Sarah A. Denetclaw-Begay 1,090
Farm Board Member: Joe Stephen Ben 797, Beatrice Redfeather 1,252, Dineh Benally 259
• Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter – Ballots cast: 326
President: Nancy A. Begay 150, Leon Spencer 173
Vice President: Juanita Dennison 80, Edison Smith 167, Perry J. Begay 76
Secretary-Treasurer: Clara Pierce 214, Elevena Begay 110
Grazing Committee Member: Tanner J. Begaye 176, Ernest Diswood 147
• Nenahnezad Chapter – Ballots cast: 569
President: Norman Cudei Begay 515
Vice President: LoJan Watson 491
Secretary-Treasurer: Shania Begay 308, Andrea "Faye" Lope 254
Grazing Committee Member: Harold Dodge 536
Farm Board Member: Tracy Raymond 461
• Upper Fruitland Chapter – Ballots cast: 681
President: Lynelle Lee 503
Vice President: Lisa Marie Byrd 499
Secretary-Treasurer: Dora A. Smith 485
Grazing Committee Member: Roxanne R. Lee 498
Farm Board Member: Albert Lee 482
• Beclabito Chapter – Ballots cast: 342
President: Melissa Kelly 203, Stephanie John 65, David L. Tom 74
Vice President: Hazel J. Sherman 201, Jerry Benally 141
Secretary-Treasurer: Larry L. Jack 95, Susie A. John 246
Grazing Committee Member: Renita T. Anderson 294
• Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter – Ballots cast: 615
President: Robert Lapahie Jr. 515
Vice President: Matthew D. Tso 366, James Pioche 230
Secretary-Treasurer: Laura J. Benally 536
Grazing Committee Member: Kenneth J. Johnson 475
Farm Board Member: Jean Jones 196, Lavone Garnenez 396
• Gadii'ahi-Tokoi Chapter – Ballots cast: 301
President: Harry Descheene Jr. 272
Vice president: Arnold Nelson 267
Secretary-Treasurer: Sylvia A. Tyler 256
Grazing Committee Member: Lucinda Lee 242
Farm Board Member: Ronney R. Dee 245
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.
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