Imagine showing up at the polls on Election Day to cast a vote for president, and being told the election has been delayed.
That’s what happened for the Navajo Nation General Election on Nov 4.
When they arrived at the polls, thousands of Navajos were told that they would not be able to vote for their next president because of an ongoing dispute between multiple levels of the Navajo government and court system that led to the presidential election being postponed, KOB4 TV in Albuquerque reported.
Some Navajo people are claiming they’ve been stripped of their rights, according to KOB4.
Voters at the Chapter House in Shiprock arrived to see sample ballots posted on the door with black x’s marking out the candidates for president, according to KOB4.
The race to be the next president of the Navajo Nation has grown contentious since questions about candidate Chris Deschene’s fluency in the Navajo language led to his removal from the ballot, according to KOB, which also reported that the presidential election must be held within the next 60 days.
The Navajo Times reported that candidate Russell Begaye has chosen Jonathan Nez, who represents Shonto, Olijato, Tsah Bii Kin and Navajo Mountain as a Council Delegate, as his vice presidential running mate.
The Daily Times Four Corners News reported that Nez, who is now serving his second term on the tribal council, ran unopposed for his council seat and was re-elected Tuesday.
Last week, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court upheld a ruling from a lower court that ordered disqualified presidential candidate Deschene’s name be removed from the ballot and replaced with Begaye, according to the Daily Times Four Corners News. Begaye finished third in the Aug. 26 primary election.
The Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals disqualified Deschene after he refused to participate in a test to determine his fluency in Navajo, which is a requirement for the presidency, according to the Daily Times Four Corners News.
Begaye and Nez will face former president Joe Shirley Jr. and his running mate Dineh Benally in a special election that has been scheduled for Dec. 23, the Daily Times Four Corners News reported.