Buu Nygren for Navajo Nation President
The integrity of the Navajo Nation election vote recount and the protection of Diné people’s vote ballot is called into question, including potential violations of election rules by Navajo Nation President Johnathan Nez.
“I stress once again as we prepare for the General Election on November 8, 2022, that we must ensure that our system of voting and electoral process is free of any irregularities and improprieties,” Nygren said. “Whether that ballot was cast in the chapter house, in-person absentee, or mail-in ballot request, each vote, and its voice must be heard and accounted for.”
The campaign team of the Navajo presidential candidate, Dr. Buu Nygren, and his running mate, Richelle Montoya continues to sit at the Navajo Nation Ballot Recount and raises critical questions related to the integrity of the Navajo Nation election vote recount processes and the security and control protocols used by the Navajo Election Administration to protect the vote ballots that the Diné people cast during the primary election held on August 2nd, 2022. Additionally, the Nygren/Montoya campaign raises a critical concern about the apparent violation of Navajo Nation election rules that prohibits the use of salaried Navajo Nation employees participating in political campaign-related activities.
Vote recount observers with the Nygren/Montoya campaign who have been assigned to ensure the integrity of the vote recount process and to monitor for any irregularities and possible violations of Navajo Nation election laws have noted the lack of transparency of the vote recount protocols and procedures being utilized by the Navajo Election Administration.
Critical questions have been raised about the security and protection of election ballots of our Diné people. Given the lack of information on security measures that may or may not be in place, it is important that Diné voters are assured their ballots will be protected and that the integrity of the recount process is upheld. The following questions are presented by the Nygren/Montoya campaign.
The August 25th, 2022, resolution by the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors “Approving the 2022 Navajo Nation Primary Election Recount Plan for Presidential Candidates; Approving the recommended budget for the recount” (BOESAU-39-22) does not provide detailed security information for the protection of the Diné people’s vote ballot. Considering the glaring absence of this critical information, the Nygren/Montoya campaign presents the following questions:
- What security measures are in place to account for the chain of custody of Navajo election ballots?
- How are Navajo election ballots secured?
- Who are the designated Navajo Election Administration officials responsible for ensuring the security and protection of Navajo election ballots?
Additionally, questions have been raised by the Buu/Nygren campaign vote recount monitors regarding the vote recount procedures:
- How are ballots “connected” to the stapled ream? Are they connected by an assigned number, QPR Code?
- How are ballots verified as connected to a ream?
- How will a Diné voter know their ballot was sent to their address on file?
- How will a voter know their ballot is in the process?
- How will a voter know their ballot was counted?
- Is a “curing” process used to address ballot issues?
Furthermore, concerns arise related to the competency of the Navajo Election of Board Supervisors and staff to conduct a fair and honest recount:
- Has the Navajo Election Administration Board of Supervisors and staff received training to conduct a recount? If so, when?
- How are ballots secured?
- Who is assigned to be present to attest to ballots being properly secured?
- How are poll workers recruited? What are the requirements for poll workers? What type of training do poll workers receive? If poll workers are a “no-show” at polling sites, what contingency plans are in place to ensure the proper conduct of Navajo Nation elections?
- What type of voter education outreach and training has been conducted within Navajo Nation communities?
- What type of training is provided to Navajo political candidates on Navajo Nation election procedures and laws?
Finally, the August 25th, 2022, recount resolution by the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors allows presidential candidates or their designated Poll Watcher to observe the recount. The Nygren/Montoya campaign recount monitors have documented the presence of staff from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President acting in the role of Navajo Nation presidential candidate Jonathan Nez’s designated Poll Watcher, in addition to prohibiting Poll Watchers designated by the Nygren/Montoya campaign from observing the recount and thereby interfering in the recount process in violation of the recount resolutions recount procedures established in the recount resolution’s Subsection D of Section II. Recount Procedures. Equally shocking is the use of Navajo Nation employees of the Office of the President and Vice President for activities that are inherently political in nature and directly related to Navajo presidential candidate Jonathan Nez’s political campaign — in clear violation of Navajo Nation’s Election Code, Title 11, Section 363 (E), “No Navajo Nation employee shall utilize Navajo Nation work time, Navajo Nation funds, Navajo Nation property, and other Navajo Nation employees for campaign purposes. A person running for any elected office shall do so on his or her own time. Violations shall warrant an investigation and appropriate action.” Navajo Nation President and presidential candidate, Jonathan Nez’s use of staff from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President during work time as his campaign’s designated Poll Watchers constitute the use of Navajo Nation employees for campaign purposes. The Nygren/Montoya campaign calls on the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors to initiate an investigation and to take appropriate action on President Nez’s violation of the Navajo Nation’s Election Code by using staff from the Office of the President and Vice President as Poll Watchers and for his staff member’s interference of the recount process by denying access of Poll Watchers from other campaigns access to the recount process.
“I will continue to stress, that we must ensure that our system of voting and electoral process is free of any irregularities and improprieties,” Nygren said. “Whether that ballot was cast in the chapter house, in-person absentee, or mail-in ballot request, each vote, and its voice must be heard and accounted for as we prepare for the Tuesday, November 8, 2022 General Election.”