The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors was scheduled to meet in the Navajo Division of Dine’ Education building but it was relocated to the Quality Inn Business Building conference room in Window Rock, Ariz. The NBOES are here and so is a crowd of people, who include disqualified presidential candidate Chris Deschene.
The board heard a report from Chief Legislative Counsel Levon Henry about the Oct. 6, 2014, decision by Office of Hearings and Appeals Hearing Officer Richie Nez, who ruled that Deschene was disqualified and so the election board was expected to move the third place winner in the presidential primary election into second place.
But so far, a majority of the election board supervisors are refusing to honor the OHA decision because they believe that the board has the sole legal authority to decide who stays on the ballot, the definition of Navajo language fluency, whether presidential candidates Dale Tsosie and Hank Whitethorne had the right to file an election grievance against Deschene that questioned his Navajo language fluency, that they have the sole power to postpone elections, and that they are only protecting the votes of the Navajo people who elected them.
ELECTION BOARD PRESIDENT WALLACE CHARLEY
all the board members have said that they oppose the postponement of the Nov. 4 general election. we try to protect and honor and implement and enforce election laws. that is all we have been doing. and if they other people, the other court, if they had done that then we would not have this problem. the area i have problem with is the election law says when candidate files and certified then other presidential candidates have right to file in ten days. my question is where were those two. putting a complaint in after primary is not part of the law. a private citizen cannot challenge a candidate. why did the other side interpret that for us. and supreme court says there will be test. is that part of law? no. Supreme Court said the election board is an independent body. we can postpone the election for 60 days. that is the law. so who is going to pick up these elderly during cold winter months.
we have document here, a petition, that asks board to honor the voters. even supreme court said that the navajo people have the right to choose who their leaders are.
and Mr. Deschene was a veteran and that means a lot. veterans fought for freedom. i am a viet nam veteran. my son went to afghanistan and he is going throug a lot of problems. i have youngest son who doesn’t talk navajo but he follows the medicineman, two. a lot can’t speak navajo but they can sure sing beautiful navajo aongs.
everyone talked and so i feel only fair for me to speak.
ELECTION SUPERVISOR JONATHAN TSO
this process is not about any candidate. this process about choosing leaders. we all expressed our opinions and concerns. but i personally refuse to acknowledge “fiasco” going on. we are in the middle of a process. You have to look at broader picture which is the people’s right to elect candidate of choice. to me, i refuse to allow OHA and Supreme Court to take election process away from me. we never let it go. we never let it out of our hands. it’s by law that these timelines are in place. we have specific dates for election. i refuse to acknowledge anyone.
times are changing. we have an election that we are conducting. we have always been in control and we are going to let the people elect whomever they want as their leader. let’s not get into specifics and not get involved in other issues and continue with election.
election board president wallace charley calls for vote on report from chief legislative counsel levon henry.
election supervisor lenora fulton says she voted against continuing with nov. 4 general election but how she is looking at postponing election and violating rights of voters. and when she was election supervisor ten years ago, the council took over board and they tried to toss board into jail. and that is when the board decided challenges. but now there is only one person making decisions on challenges.
i changed my mind after reading laws that says that when presidential candidate chooses vice president then that is the legal ticket. also on my mind is maintaining integrity of election and the right of that voter to select is what the board needs to protect.
if throw me in jail for year, so be it, i’m here to protect vote of people. let people decide. the voice of people should be supreme. this is whole new era. we shouldn’t fight over what is sacred. if brother can fight for our freedoms then i can stand for freedom.
ELECTION BOARD supervisor Tom White asked that the board’s vote on accepting report also include that election ballot remain the same.
Board decides to only vote on accepting report. Vote is 7 in favor, 0 opposed.
Election supervisor White makes motion to keep election and election ballot as is.
Election supervisor Lenora Fulton says she added her legislation to postpone Nov. 4 general election for presidential candidates because she wanted to be on record about why she voted yes then but now she has changed her mind.
Election supervisors Jonathan Tso and Lenora Fulton motion to delete resolution from board agenda that board voted on to oppose the postponement of Nov. 4 general election for presidential candidates. Vote is 6 in favor, 1 opposed.
Election Office Director Edison Wauneka, in response to question from election supervisor Michael Cohen for who is on election ballot, says that the elction ballot has the names of “Deschene – Etcitty” and “Shirley – Benally”