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Shirley in Clear; Nez Faces Hearing

Shirley in Clear; Nez Faces Hearing
September 13
12:56 2018

It’s déjà vu – all over again.

The 2014 Navajo primary election for president was one for the ages, with one of the top finishers booted off the general election ballot. But, could that be about to happen again?

Vincent Yazzie, one of the 18 candidates in the presidential primary, filed complaints against the top two finishers, Vice President Jonathan Nez and former two-term president Joe Shirley, Jr.

The Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals dismissed the Shirley complaint, with the hearing officer chiding Yazzie for filing a “frivolous” complaint.

However, the complaint against Nez remains open. Nez faces a September 26 hearing before the OHA. Yazzie’s complaint against Nez revolves around the vice president omitting a conviction for extreme driving under the influence from his election forms. In his complaint seeking to disqualify Shirley Yazzie argued that the former president had already served two terms.

The issue was raised four years ago when Shirley ran against another crowded field. Shirley was the top vote-getter in the primary before losing the general election to current President Russell Begaye. The Navajo Supreme Court ruled that tribal law says a president can only serve two consecutive terms – then after sitting out a former president can run again.

In 2014 a grievance was filed against LeChee’s Chris Deschene, who had come in second. The complaint claimed that Deschene was not fluent in Navajo as required by Navajo law. This led to a protracted process eventually resulting in Deschene being removed from the ballot. He was replaced by third-place finisher, Begaye.


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