Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
A candidate for the primary election for the tribal council at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation is pursuing a challenge to the election held Oct. 7. Ken Blatt St. Marks, who lost the primary election for chairman of the Rocky Boy’s Business Committee, said this morning that his protest has nothing to do with his loss; but is a protest of improper procedures during the election. “If they feel that way I will pull my name off of that ballot, but give us a fair election,” Blatt St. Marks said. “That’s all that we want is a fair election.” Blatt St. Marks filed a letter of protest with the Rocky Boy election board, including signatures of 28 unsuccessful and one successful candidates in the primary protesting the election. Russell Standing Rock, who advanced to the general election, and the 28 other of the total 64 candidates for the chairman and member positions of the business committee attached their signatures, including Blatt St. Marks. Blatt St. Marks said he received a letter from the election board Wednesday night stating the board denied the request for a new election. He said he intends to continue to pursue the matter, including filing a complaint in the Tribal Court at Rocky Boy and scheduling a meeting tonight, to which the Tribal council members are invited, to push for a new election. “We’re going to push it all the way,” he said. “We're in the process of passing a petition around Rocky Boy to have a re-election. “We are also talking about marching on this Tribe,” he added. In the letter to Blatt St. Marks, the election board wrote that his protest, while touching upon several procedural issues, fails to support just cause in holding a new election. The letter states that several of Blatt St. Marks’ allegations had no documentation, other issues he listed were allowed under the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s laws and constitution, and others were not presented in a timely fashion or did not have enough impact on the election to justify holding another. “Unfortunately, after reviewing the protest, the Election Board finds that the protest sets forth no valid reasons, based on the Tribe’s Constitution or Election Ordinance as to why the results of the election should not be final,” the letter states. Blatt St. Marks said he believes the action will continue because many on the reservation also believe the election was conducted unfairly, and many are unhappy with perceived misconduct of the Tribal government. “This whole reservation has had enough,” Blatt St. Marks said.