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Turned Away Navajo Voters Get Another Chance To Cast Ballots

Navajo voters who couldn't vote on election day due to a ballot shortage have until Nov. 21 to cast new ballots. The tribe was choosing a new president and several council delegates.

Election officials say a two-part referendum is to blame for the shortage. Navajos were asked whether they wanted to increase the salaries of elected leaders. If they voted no, they were to leave the second part listing salary amounts blank. Voting machines rejected over-marked ballots and second ballots were handed out.

As many as 50 people who left phone numbers when precincts ran out now have an extra week to turn in their ballots. Some live a great distance from their polling site.

The late ballots won't affect the presidential race. Jonathan Nez won by an overwhelming margin — 19,000 votes. But two council races are too close to call.

The election board has dismissed its director saying the office needs a "new direction."

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.