Nuvamsa residency issue sent back to election board

KEAMS CANYON - In a decision issued Oct. 29, Judge Pro-Tem Geoffrey Tager ruled on the appeal of five plaintiffs who challenged the Hopi Election Board's certification of Benjamin H. Nuvamsa's candidacy for the office of Chairman of the Hopi Tribe. Tager ruled in favor of the five plaintiffs, sending the case back to the election board.

The Hopi Election Board is the administrative body responsible for reviewing candidate petitions for office to ensure the candidate has satisfied all constitutional and statutory requirements of office.

The five plaintiffs - Jerry Sekayumptewa, Caleb Johnson, Clifford Quötsaqohu, John Poleahla and Leon Koruh - challenged the election board's certification of Nuvamsa's candidacy after questions arose regarding whether Nuvamsa met the required residency requirements.

According to both the Hopi Constitution and the Hopi Election Ordinance, candidates wishing to run for Chairman must demonstrate that they have lived on the Hopi Reservation for the two years immediately preceding the election.

The Hopi Tribal Council is expected to call a special session to discuss Tager's most recent ruling and how to implement the decision. Council will also likely discuss how the ruling affects the appeal from Tager's decision in the Nuvamsa lawsuit.

Copies of the decision can be obtained by calling the Tribal Secretary's Office at (928) 734-3131.

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