Ballot shortage led some would-be voters to be turned away

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FARMINGTON — In response to the ballot shortage that occurred during the Navajo Nation general election last week, the Navajo Election Administration has authorized extra voting days for voters who left their contact information at polling sites in lieu of getting to cast a ballot.

As part of the process, the election administration will get in touch with would-be voters who submitted contact information at their chapter precinct on Nov. 6, then allow those voters the chance to cast a ballot at the election administration's agency offices, according to an update issued Saturday by the election administration.

The update also states that voters may contact agency offices about casting a ballot starting today through Nov. 21.

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

The ballot shortage happened due to a ballot initiative about salaries for the tribal president and vice president that caused confusion for some voters and resulted in the need to reissue some ballots at polling sites, the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors stated last week.

In the update, the election administration will proceed with canvassing votes, and after all votes are counted, the final voter tally will be given to the election board for certification.

"The Navajo Election Administration takes its responsibility of protecting the rights of voters and candidates very seriously. We assure the public that all precautionary measures are being taken to address election issues," according to the update.

For more information, contact the Navajo Election Administration in Window Rock at 800-775-8683.

In a separate statement, the election board announced the dismissal of Edbert Little as the executive director for the election administration.

"After an in-depth discussion, the board concluded that the election office needed a new direction, and the first step is to part ways with the director," according to the Nov. 9 statement.

The statement explains that Little was serving as an at-will employee and was appointed by the board in April 2017.

Murray Lee, department manager for the election administration, will serve as interim executive director until a new director is hired, according to the statement.

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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