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.
The tribal election board heard a report from Chief Legislative Counsel Levon Henry about 2014 General Election, in which Henry reported that the tribal office of hearings and appeals ruled that Chris Deschene was disqualified and that OHA “expects” the election board to move the next highest vote getter in the primary election into Deschene’s position.
But so far two election supervisors are speaking against the OHA decision. Election supervisor Jonathan Nez is talking about how the election board was not part of election complaints and so they should continue with the voting and let the people decide.
Supervisor Tom White raises question just before Board votes on Motion by Supervisors Jonathan Tso and Ruth Watson to continue the Nov. 4 General Election. Navajo Supreme Court Chief Justice Herb Yazzie appointed by Joe Shirley jr., when Shirley president, and so Yazzie should recuse himself cuz that is conflict of interest.
Supervisor Lenora Fulton says the board represents all 110 chapters and yet no one comes to the board to inform the board about these political issues. The board has authority to interpret law. And what bothers me is Fulton versus Redhouse which is my case. I just voted this morning. When this complaint filed ten days later over Navajo language fluency and the board has not interpreted fluency. “That (Deschene-Etcitty) ticket is fluent; there is no question.” We also have Peacemaking Court. People can read and write Navajo and that is fluency. I returned from off rez and I didn’t speak navajo but I learned. I have six children and they don’t speak Navao but i would like them to work in navajo government. the board’s responsibility is to protect election and the people’s vote. several years ago, the council told us to disqualify several education board and we did that but we decided that we would not do that.
SUPERVISOR RUTH WATSON
so if the board moves the third runner up into second position then who has right to disqualify absentee votes, especially those involving the military.
ELECTION BAORD PRESIDENT CHARLEY
Mr. Henry, answer question regarding possible conflict of interest
Mr. Spruhan answer question about who has final authority to disqualify votes.
CHIEF LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL LEVON HENRY
The question of whether there is conflict of interest by chief justice herb yazzie is up to Deschene and his attorneys to question.
TRIBAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ATTORNEY PAUL SPRUHAN
There is a process instigated by people who brought their appeal to office of hearings and appeals and if you believe that they make final decision then up to board on how to deal with it. the tribal justice department is not the one to decide. Deschene has right to appeal to Supreme Court.
ELECTION SUPERVISOR NORMAN BEGAY
The supreme court ruled that the election board is independent and so we are. now there is the OHA order here. personally myself, i would rather face repercussions of OHA instead of changing ballot and removing Deschene.
ELECTION SUPERVISOR TOM WHITE
mYSELF AND FULTON represent Fort Defiance Agency. Earlier before meeting stated, we have Fort Defiance resolution that represents Fort Defiance agency, we have all the petitions attached to resolution. and yet we are being told by OHA to have the next person moved up and to disqualify Mr. Deschene. I cannot do that. I have to listen to people that voted me into this office.