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Navajo Nation Supreme Court to issue ruling in election dispute

Joe Shirley Jr., right, and his running mate, Dineh Benally. Photo from Twitter

The Navajo Nation Supreme Court plans to issue a decision affecting the presidential election dispute on the Navajo Nation.

The November 4, 2014, general election was postponed when the court ordered the removal of Chris Deschene from the ballot because he is not fluent in the Navajo language as required by tribal law. The two remaining valid candidates -- Joe Shirley Jr. and Russell Begaye -- thought they were going to face off in a new election.

But election officials never scheduled another vote. In the meantime, the Navajo Nation Council passed legislation to authorize an entirely new presidential election this year.

Navajo Nation presidential candidate Russell Begaye and his running mate, Jonathan Nez. Photo from Facebook

Shirley and Begaye have petitioned the court to invalidate the legislation and order an election as soon as possible with their names on the ballot. The justices issued an order on Wednesday saying they will rule on the validity of the legislation without holding a hearing in the matter.

The lack of a new leader means Ben Shelly was sworn into another term as president of the tribe despite losing his re-election bid. He has remained unpopular on the reservation.

Get the Story:
Navajo Nation Supreme Court will not hold hearing to determine validity of council's actions (The Farmington Daily Times 2/12)
Navajo Nation presidential candidates want Supreme Court to invalidate special election resolution (The Farmington Daily Times 2/11)

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