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Concerns about Navajo primary results mount among some candidates

Navajo recount
Mihio Manus/Ethel Branch for Navajo Nation President
Several Navajo tribal members marched in the capital of Window Rock on Thu, Sept. 8, 2022 for accountability and transparency in the Aug. 2 primary election.

Several candidates who competed in the Navajo Nation’s presidential primary election last month continue to question the results. It follows a full recount last week of the nearly 50,000 votes cast.

Candidates say the review of the Aug. 2 election turned up numerous missing and uncounted ballots. They also say the recount amplified concerns they have about the original vote count as well as transparency, ballot security and the reliability of voting machines.

"I don’t have confidence in what happened Aug. 2. We need to have confidence in our elections. We need to know that the voice of the people is being respected and reflected in the outcome of our elections," says 2022 presidential primary candidate and former Navajo Attorney General Ethel Branch.

Branch is calling for a revote of the presidential primary. She along with candidates Frankie Davis, Rosanna Jumbo-Fitch and others also want extensive reforms put in place for the voting process like third-party monitors and more training for election workers. Ten of the 15 candidates who ran in the Navajo primary last month requested the recount amid concerns about the accuracy of the results.

Tribal election officials didn’t comment and haven’t released the results of the recount but are considering certifying primary.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.