By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
An election asking voters on Rocky Boys' Indian Reservation to approve several changes to the tribe's constitution and bylaws went forward as planned Tuesday. The Bureau of Indian Affairs official running the election said enough people have voted to make the results legitimate.
Ballots will not be counted until Friday.
About 94 people voted in person Tuesday, said James Montes, BIA field officer at Rocky Boy. By law, the BIA administers secretarial elections like the one that took place Tuesday.
At least 40 absentee ballots have been received, bringing the total number of votes easily above the required 113. Federal law requires 30 percent of those who registered for the election to vote for the results to be legitimate. About 374 Rocky Boy voters had registered.
Montes said he thinks the cold weather probably reduced voter turnout.
Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted. About 185 tribal members requested absentee ballots, Montes said, so more may be still on the way.
He said he will probably wait until Friday to count the ballots to give any absentee ballots still in the mail the chance to arrive. The ballots are locked in the vault at the BIA office, Montes said.
After the results are posted, Rocky Boy residents will have five days to lodge any protests against the election.
A petition was circulating last week among members of the Chippewa Cree Grassroots People to support an injunction in tribal court against the election, the