WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA — Late Friday a Navajo District Court judge issued an order canceling the presidential election on the Navajo Nation this coming Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
The order issued by Navajo District Court Judge Carol Perry granted an injunction for former election board members who wanted it postponed until after the election office holds a referendum on the Navajo fluency issue.
The Navajo Nation Tribal Council earlier this year passed a bill to fund a referendum that will eliminate the Navajo-language fluency requirement for the office of president and vice president of the Navajo Nation.
Judge Perry stated the bill is clear that a referendum must be held before the presidential election is held.
“The logic in determining the qualifications of candidates first and thereafter holding an election is not only sensible, but it is the law,” wrote Judge Perry in her order.
The election will continue regardless of Judge Perry’s order, according to Edison Wauneka, the Navajo Nation’s election director. He cited the high costs of canceling the election and the fact he is under orders from the Navajo Supreme Court to hold the election.
On Tuesday, the Wauneka told the Court the cost to the cancel Tuesday’s election will be $260,000. The amount is disputed due to the fact the printer who was sub-contracted to print the ballots testified that there will be no additional costs for printing, with exception to a memory pack to scan the election results would have to be reprogrammed, a fee he said he would waive.
The two candidates running for president of the Navajo Nation are former Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. and Russell Begaye.
Order granting permanent injunctive relief (PDF)