Ballot shortage at polling sites causes delay, votes to be canvassed

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — During the recent Navajo Nation General Election the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors became aware of a ballot shortage at a number of chapters.

To address this, the Election Office stated it is working with Election Agency Offices and will be able to print additional ballots at their main office as well as at some polling sites. This process was done in previous elections or with local chapter elections and is not a new process for the Election Office.

There were some instances in which the office and polling sites could not print more ballots in time before polling sites closed at 7 p.m. In those situations the election office permitted voters to leave their names, addresses and other contact information. The elections office has stated that voters who were on these lists will be contacted so they may cast their ballot.

“The election offices will be contacting voters in the next few days according to the contact information provided by the voter. Voters may also contact their agency office to cast their ballot beginning Tuesday, Nov. 13 through Nov. 21,” the statement said.

The Navajo Election Administration in each agency will proceed with canvassing of votes. After all votes are accounted for and counted the final vote tally will be given to the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors for certification.

“The Navajo Election Administration takes its responsibility of protecting the rights of voters and candidates very seriously. We assure the public that all precautionary measures are being taken to address election issues,” the statement said.

Presidential and vice presidential salary questions arise

According to the Board of Election Supervisors, board members received numerous calls and messages on the ballot shortage and voters not having the opportunity to vote.

“First, there was confusion on the referendum question regarding salary adjustments for the president and vice president that led to spoiled ballots. Some voters misread the question in which the “No” vote did not allow a vote on the options for salary range increases. Voters voting “No” and voting on the option caused a spoiled ballot so a second ballot had to be issued. Second, when polling sites started running short the instructions were to issue photocopied ballots that were numbered or photocopied ballots were relayed to polling sites. Lack of and poor communication at remote sites caused delays in the instructions getting to all polling sites. Third, polling sites were instructed to allow all voters who were in line to vote at 7 p.m. by taking the voters contact information; however, again due to lack of communication at remote sites the instructions were not received as quickly,” a statement from the supervisors read.

The Board of Election Supervisors have instructed the election administration to complete the vote count. The vote count includes hand counting the ballots that could not be counted by the ballot machine, counting the absentee ballots received the day of the general election and counting the challenged votes.

The Board is mindful that the election results are unofficial until all votes are counted. The Board also is aware the voters who are listed at their polling sites who did not vote will be allowed to cast a vote at the Agency Election Office. The Election Administration will be contacting those voters who were listed at the polling sites.

Any individual who was unable to cast a ballot on election day and submitted their name and contact information at a polling site should contact the election office toll free at 1-800-775-8683.

Election administration director released

On Nov. 9, the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors Chairman, Melvin

Harrison, announced the release of the Election Administration’s Director Edbert Little.

After an in-depth discussion the board concluded that the election office needed a new

direction and the first step is to part ways with the director.

Little was appointed by the Board of Election Supervisors in April 2017 and was

currently serving as an at-will employee. Murray Lee, the assistant director, is the interim

Executive Director until the Board of Electuib hires a Director for the Election Office.

Information provided by Navajo Nation Elections Office

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