On February 14, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly signed legislation allocating almost $700,000 to the Navajo Election Administration from the Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance according to a Nation press release.
According to the legislation, the funds will be used for two areas, $416,552 for special elections and $281,476 for chapter elections to fill seats left vacant during the last election.
“I would like the Navajo People to have the opportunity to vote on several referendums this year,” Shelly wrote in his letter to Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize.
Money will be appropriated for the special elections and chapter elections, but will also fund a possible special election on a Title 2 language change. Proposed under legislation 0369-11, the amended Title 2 language would recognize the Navajo people as the governing authority of the Navajo Nation.
“Any authority the Navajo Government has is delegated from the Navajo People and any powers not delegated remains with the Navajo People. The Peoples’ authority has been demonstrated already by the reduction of the Council from 88 to 24 and the Presidential line-item veto authority. It needs to be rightfully and properly codify within the Navajo Nation Codes,” Shelly wrote about Legislation 0369-11.
Shelly, before signing the legislation, stressed again the importance of the Navajo peoples’ role in the Navajo government.
“I signed this legislation because we have pending legislation that could put the people as the governing body of this Nation. The time has come for our people to be recognized as the group that oversees our government. We need to make the change in Title 2, so all our leaders understand and recognize that our roles as elected leaders is entrusted to us by the people of the Navajo Nation,” Shelly said before signing the legislation.
Two other referendums are possible to be discussed: “allowing Utah Navajo voters to select a trustee for the Navajo Utah Trust Fund;” and “lowering the numbers of signatures needed to start an initiative.”