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Navajo Voter Rights Group Holds Page Fundraiser

Navajo Voter Rights Group Holds Page Fundraiser
March 14
10:53 2016

The LeChee contingent of the Navajo Voter Rights Coalition sponsored a country music dance Saturday night at the Elks Lodge in Page.

The LeChee group calls itself the Western Navajo Voters Coalition.

The dance was a fundraiser to help the group pay off outstanding legal fees from its activities during the 2014-15 presidential election.

“We’re almost there, almost raised our share,” coalition member Reuben D. Begay, Sr., of Page, said.

The legal bill is being split between voter rights groups in Chinle, Fort Defiance and the Western and Northern coalitions, Begay explained.

The dance in Page featured the band Latigo, from Monument Valley, Utah. Approximately three dozen people attended.

The coalition had met earlier in the week at the LeChee home of Wilson Lister. The main topic under discussion was future fundraisers. But there was another matter of importance.
Coalition President Dennis Tsosie told members that “someone” was trying to insinuate that the group was out to oust Navajo Election Administration Executive Director Edison Wauneka.

“It’s not true, we’re not out to get anyone,” Begay said.

Becky Nave Cling – an ardent supporter of ousted presidential candidate Chris Clark Deschene – said last week that the coalition wanted to oust Wauneka.

Tsosie even urged members not to make negative comments about anyone, Begay said. The group is about protecting voters’ rights, not carrying out personal vendettas, he added.

Dennis Tsosie also told coalition members that Steven Begay will run for the Arizona senate seat in District 7.

The Voter Rights Coalition grew from the turmoil engulfing the disputed 2014 Navajo presidential election.

Chris Deschene finished second in the primaries, behind former President Joe Shirley, Jr. However two of the losing candidates filed a complaint against Deschene, claiming that he was not fluent in Navajo, as required by the tribe’s by-laws.

After Deschene refused to participate in a fluency test, the Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals removed him from the ballot. He was replaced by eventual winner Russell Begaye.
The coalition fought a myriad of, ultimately fruitless, court battles to get Deschene back on the ballot.

Deschene – an engineer and lawyer – currently holds a federal position in Washington, D.C.

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