Reform initiatives fail due to insufficiency of signatures

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - On Nov. 12, the Navajo Election Administration sent notice to Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. that his two initiatives failed to move forward for insufficient petition signatures.

On Oct. 28, President Shirley delivered signatures to the Navajo Election Administration for the two initiatives, one to reduce the Navajo Nation Council and the other to gain line item veto power for the President.

As required by 11 N.N.C. §404(B) (13), the Navajo Election Administration is required to examine and verify petitions. The Navajo Election Administration reported on Nov. 7 that they completed their examination and verification and determined that the petitions lacked enough signatures.

The initiatives required 15 percent of all eligible registered Navajo voters, in order to get the initiatives on the ballot. Currently, there are approximately 110,202 eligible registered Navajo Nation voters listed on the registration roster. Fifteen percent of this amount is 16,530 - the number that each initiative required.

The Navajo Election Administration reported that 18,638 signatures were collected by the President's office, of which 14,273 were determined valid and sufficient for the initiative to reduce the Council. A total of 18,002 signatures were collected with 13,622 signatures deemed valid and sufficient to give the President line item veto power. However, some of the signatures were from signers who were not registered voters and those who signed the petitions more than once.

Speaker Morgan wishes to continue pushing the plan by the Diné Policy Institute called the "Navajo Nation Constitutional Feasibility and Government Reform Project."

The Diné Policy Institute (DPI) report is one option toward comprehensive government reform and was done as an independent study by the Institute.

"I believe that there is a need for comprehensive reform, but it would take more than just an amendment to one paragraph of the Navajo Nation Code," Speaker Morgan said.

Speaker Morgan's next step in pushing comprehensive government reform is to continue educating the Navajo public and the Navajo Nation Council about the DPI plan.

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