National | Politics

Navajo Nation won't delay election despite presidential dispute

Chris Deschene, far left, with his supporters. Photo from Facebook

Voters of the Navajo Nation will choose a new leader on November 4 as originally scheduled.

The Navajo Election Administration voted to proceed with the election despite questions over the legitimacy of presidential candidate Chris Deschene. The Office of Hearings and Appeals will hold a hearing tomorrow to determine whether he can run for the office even though he is not a fluent speaker of Navajo, as required by tribal law.

If he is disqualified, Russell Begaye, the candidate who came in third in the primary, will be eligible, Arizona Public Media reported. In that situation, he will face Joe Shirley Jr., a former president who speaks Navajo fluently.

Deschene tried to avoid the language requirement but the Navajo Nation Supreme Court ruled that it was a "reasonable" qualification for presidential candidates.

Get the Story:
Navajo Ballots Printing; One Presidential Candidate Could Be Out (Arizona Public Media 10/1)
Navajo Nation general election will go on as planned (The Farmington Daily Times 10/1)
Election board votes to move forward with Nov. 4 election (The Navajo Times 10/1)

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Order:
Tsosie v. Deschene (September 26, 2014)

Related Stories:
Navajo presidential candidate in doubt over fluency in language (9/29)
Navajo Nation might postpone election due to legal challenge (9/25)
Navajo Nation court to hear language issue affecting candidate (9/24)
Appeal filed over Navajo language ability of presidential hopeful (9/17)
Navajo Nation presidential candidate a target over fluency issue (09/11)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (08/27)

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