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Canvassing, certifying Navajo Nation chapter general election set for Nov. 30


Noel Lyn Smith   | Farmington Daily Times
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FARMINGTON — The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors has scheduled Nov. 30 to canvass and certify votes from the general election for chapter governments and other offices.

Complications due to the availability of notary services, recounts and file grievances have caused some delays.

Voters had cast ballots on Nov. 3 to determine chapter presidents, vice presidents and secretary-treasurers, seats for alternative forms of government and memberships on grazing committees, land boards, farm boards and the election board.

During the election board meeting on Nov. 18, board members decided to delay canvassing and certifying the election until the end of the month due to grievances filed at the Office of Hearings and Appeals in Window Rock, Arizona and to conduct election recounts at Kin Dah Lichíí' and Klagetoh chapters in Arizona.

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Another issue is candidates having trouble filing their reports for campaign expenses, which is a requirement under the Navajo Election Code.

"All candidates, whether you won or lost, even you didn't receive any contributions or spent any money to campaign, including school board candidates must file their report," according to a Nov. 17 post on the election administration's Facebook page.

Melvin Harrison, chairman of the election board, mentioned the coronavirus pandemic has been affecting the process to file campaign expense reports because some candidates have tested positive for the virus or are providing care for family members who tested positive.

Shirlee A. Bedonie, a board member who represents the Western Agency, said restrictions by the tribe and states over the coronavirus have made it difficult for candidates to obtain notary services.

"It's kind of hard to find a notarizer right now," Bedonie said.

The Navajo Election Administration is comprised of a central office in Window Rock and five agency offices across the Navajo Nation.

One of the voter registration specialists explained that candidates are having difficulties with notarizing campaign expense reports, especially since offices that have notary services are closed to the public.

In the meantime, the election board encourages candidates to file campaign expense reports as soon as possible.

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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