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Navajo Nation's top court orders new ballots without candidate

Chris Deschene and his running mate, Fannie Atcitty, campaign on the Navajo Nation. Photo from Facebook

The Navajo Nation Supreme Court issued a decision today that requires election officials to print up new ballots for the upcoming presidential race.

New ballots are required because candidate Chris Deschene has been disqualified due to his lack of fluency in the Navajo language. The supervisors for the Navajo Board of Election refused to remove his name but the court said they were acting contrary to tribal law.

"The ballots are to be immediately reprinted without the name of the disqualified candidate, Christopher C. Deschene," the court wrote.

Absentee ballots had already been sent out with Deschene's name so it appears the process will have to start over again. The court acknowledged that the November 4 election will likely be delayed while new ballots are being printed.

"It is unavoidable that the November 4, 2014 election must be postponed," the court stated.

Russell Begaye, who came in third in the tribe's primary, will appear on the new ballots instead of Deschene. Joe Shirley Jr., a former president who speaks Navajo fluently, remains in the race.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Tsosie and Whitethorne v. Deschene.

Get the Story:
Tribal high court tosses candidate off ballot (AP 10/23)
Deschene has chance to stay on Navajo Nation ballot (The Arizona Republic 10/23)

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Tsosie v. Deschene (October 23, 20140

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Order:
Tsosie v. Deschene (October 22, 2014)

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

Related Stories:
Christopher Chavis: Navajo court got it wrong in fluency case (10/22)
Navajo Nation presidential hopeful to be removed from ballot (10/22)
Navajo Nation court still mulling decision in presidential case (10/21)
Top Navajo Nation court holds hearing in presidential dispute (10/20)
Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene stays on ballot (10/14)
Navajo presidential candidate to dispute removal from ballot (10/10)
Navajo presidential candidate loses ruling over language ability (10/9)
Navajo Nation won't delay election despite presidential dispute (10/2)
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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