Tribal council seats, other positions also up for grabs

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FARMINGTON — Voters on the Navajo Nation will decide the next president and the composition of the tribal council in Tuesday's general election.

Vice President Jonathan Nez and former President Joe Shirley Jr. are vying for the presidency in an election cycle that saw both men weather legal challenges to remain on the ballot.

Both candidates are experienced lawmakers, having served as county supervisors in Arizona.

Nez served three terms on the Navajo Nation Council before serving as vice president. Shirley is the only president to serve two consecutive terms. He was in office from 2003 to 2011.

There are four seats on the tribal council that represent chapters in the Northern Agency on the ballot, as well as seats for the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors and the Navajo Nation Board of Education.

Also on the ballot is a question about whether to raise the salary for the president and vice president.

Voters in the Tooh Haltsooí Chapter will decide a special election to seat a chapter vice president.

Precincts open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. for each of the 110 chapters.

Virginia Nelson, a voter registration specialist at the Navajo Election Administration office in Shiprock, said voters will need to provide either a census number, Social Security number or birth date to get a ballot.

A voter who received an absentee ballot by mail can submit the ballot to any agency election office by 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nelson said.

The agency offices for the election administration are in Shiprock and Crownpoint, and in Chinle, Tuba City and Window Rock in Arizona.

Voters who decide to vote at their chapter precinct must surrender their absentee ballot before a new ballot is issued, Nelson said.

Early in-person voting closed on Nov. 2, and Nelson said turnout was busy throughout last week.

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

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