Law | National

Chris Deschene still urging Navajo Nation voters to choose him

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

Chris Deschene has apparently suspended his campaign for president of the Navajo Nation but he's still urging tribal members to vote for him.

Deschene was dealt a blow when outgoing President Ben Shelly vetoed legislation that would have eased a Navajo language requirement for presidential candidates. But his name remains on the ballot even though it's not clear whether next week's election will go on as planned.

"I am still on the ballot. I have not conceded," Deschene said on Facebook. "I will never stop defending our fundamental rights. I’m told I’ll get in trouble for campaigning. But you won’t get in trouble for voting. You need to vote now."

Deschene came in second in the tribe's primary but was ordered off the ballot because he is not fluent in the Navajo language. However, the supervisors for the Navajo Board of Election have refused to follow a decision from the Navajo Nation Supreme Court that said his name must be removed.

The court also said it was "unavoidable" that next Tuesday's election must be postponed. But election officials haven't agreed to delay it.

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

Get the Story:
Navajo Nation Presidential Candidate Suspends Campaign (NPR 10/30)
Confusion surrounds Navajo Nation election (KOAT 10/29)
Navajo Nation presidential campaign in turmoil over language requirement (The Washington Post 10/29)

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Tsosie v. Deschene (October 23, 2014)

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

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

Join the Conversation

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation president vetoes bill to address language issue (10/29)
Navajo Nation election officials refuse to delay upcoming vote (10/28)
Navajo Nation candidate Chris Deschene won't halt campaign (10/24)
Navajo Nation's top court orders new ballots without candidate (10/23)
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)