Navajo Nation Council Directs Chapter Elections Be Held Aug. 1; Imposes Sanctions
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz--The Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday, July 18, passed a resolution directing the Navajo Election Administration and the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors to do what is necessary to ensure that the 2000 Navajo Chapter Elections are held on Aug. 1, 2000, as mandated by Navajo law.
By a vote of 60 in favor, 11 opposed and 2 abstaining, the Council also imposed sanctions upon the Board and Election Administration if the election is not held on the date provided for by Navajo Nation law.
The Navajo Nation Council further approved a one-time waiver of the following provisions of the Navajo Election Code, Subchapter 7, Absentee Voting: 11 N.N.C. Sections 122(C) and (I), 124(E), 125(B), and 127. This waiver shall be effective only for purposes of protecting the due process rights of Navajo voters wishing to vote in the August 1, 2000 Chapter election by absentee ballot.
"The overwhelming vote of the Council, in support of the election date provided by law, indicates the CouncilÕs commitment to having the election done at the correct time and in the correct manner," Speaker Edward T. Begay said. "That is consistent with important concepts of Navajo traditional teachings."
"The Council took this action to protect the fundamental right of the Navajo people to vote for their elected officials and to determine in a timely way the matter of the appropriate number of Navajo Nation Council delegates by referendum," he said.
The Navajo Nation Council further approved the following timeline for absentee voting in the August 1, 2000 Chapter election:
Applications for absentee ballots must be delivered in person to the Navajo Election Administration no later than Monday, August 7, 2000.
The Navajo Election Administration shall cause absentee ballots to be mailed to applicants up to Monday, July 31, 2000.
Absentee ballots marked at the Navajo Election
Administration pursuant to 11 N.N.C. Section 124(A) may be marked in person as soon as absentee ballots are made available and up to Monday, August 7, 2000 during regular hours at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. of each business day at the Navajo Election Administration Office in Window Rock, Arizona.
The Navajo Election Administration shall accept completed official mailing envelopes until 5 p.m. on Monday, August 7, 2000. Any completed official mailing envelope received after that time shall not be honored and shall be invalidated by the Board.
Poll judges and poll clerks shall open ballot envelopes and tabulate the absentee ballots after 5 p.m. on Monday, August 7, 2000.
The Council approved the following sanctions against the Navajo Election Administration and the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors if those entities fail or refuse to comply with their directive:
The Office of Controller, in coordination with the Office of the Speaker, Finance Section, shall temporarily freeze the accounts of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, and Board members shall no longer receive monetary compensation of any kind for their position as elected officials to the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors; and
The powers and authorities of the Navajo Election Administration Executive Director, set forth at 2 N.N.C. Section 877, and as stated within the Navajo Election Code, 11 N.N.C. Section 1 et seq., shall temporarily be vested in the Director of the Office of Legislative Services. The current NEA Executive Director shall perform duties as assigned by the Legislative Services Director, but shall continue to receive wages and benefits for her work equivalent to her current position; and
The oversight powers and authorities of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, set forth generally at 2 N.N.C. Section 873 and the Navajo Election Code, 11 N.N.C Section 1 et seq., shall temporarily be vested with the Intergovernmental Relations Committee, with the exception of the quasi-judicial powers of the Board, set forth at 2 N.N.C. Section 873(B)(4) and 11 N.N.C. Sections 321(A)(4) and 321(B), which shall temporarily be vested in the Navajo Nation Office of Hearings and Appeals. The Navajo Board of Election Supervisors shall maintain their positions as elected officials, but they shall no longer be required or authorized to perform their powers and duties, as these authorities shall be vested with the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and the Office of Hearings and Appeals; and
The above sanctions shall become effective on August 2,
2000, if the 2000 Chapter Election does not occur on August 1, 2000, or on the date on which the Board or the NEA fail to perform their required functions relative to the 2000 Chapter election as set forth in the Navajo Election code, 11 N.N.C. Section 1 et seq., and
The above sanctions shall remain effective until the results of the 2000 Chapter election are certified and all election disputes and challenges pertaining to the 2000 Chapter election are determined and decided.
The Navajo Nation Council further requested that the Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council convene a Special Session on August 2, 2000 to set the date for the 2000 Chapter election, if the 2000 Chapter election does not take place on August 1, 2000.
The Council also heard President Kelsey A. BegayeÕs State of the Nation address and accepted it with a vote of 64 in favor, 15 opposed and 0 abstaining.
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