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Rocky Boy elections panel overturn results, St. Marks to appeal

 

August 9, 2013



The Chippewa Cree Tribe’s Elections Board has invalidated the recent elections and ordered that yet another election be held for tribal chair.

In a letter to Ken Blatt St. Marks, the candidate who finished first in the elections, the board’s attorney, Lynn Fagan of Missoula, said the results were overturned because some people were allowed to vote with photocopied Certification of Indian Blood documents instead of laminated documents as required by the a law passed by voters in November.

The Election Board allowed people to vote with the photocopied documents, but now admits its mistake, Fagan said in the letter.

St. Marks said the few people who voted with photocopied ID would not have changed the results of the election. He won by more than 100 votes over second-place finisher Rick Morsette, the acting tribal chair.

He said he would protest the decision in tribal court, and if that fails, he will go to the United State government and insist that officials fulfill their trust responsibilities to Native Americans and uphold the election results.

St. Marks said he is the legitimate chair of the tribal council.

On Election Day, St. Marks said, people were turned away if they did not have the proper documents and told to go to the tribal office to get new ones. But the lamination machine at tribal headquarters had broken down, so they were given photocopied documents, he said.

That was the case in a number of prisoners at the Rocky Boy detention center, who cast ballots, Fagan said.

St. Marks’ wife was a poll watcher on Election Day, and she said at least half of the 19 prisoners who voted had the required laminated documents.

Fagan’s letter said the protest was filed with the election board by a defeated candidate, but did not say which of St. Mars’ four foes filed the objections.

St. Marks said he believes it was Morsette.

St. Marks said the disputed votes should be counted, and if they are not, he still would have won the election.

Fagan said she did not know when the new election would be held, but all of the candidates would be notified.

Politics at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation have been in tumult for more than a year since St. Marks was elected chair.

After serving a couple of months, St. Marks was removed by the tribal council. St. Marks’ supporters contend that the action violated several clauses in the tribal constitution.

Plans were announced for a new election, but voting was delayed because of disputes over whether St, Marks was eligible to run.

Finally, Tribal Court Justice Donna Running Wolf ruled in St. Marks favor, the election was held and St. Marks won.

St. Marks said the Rocky Boy political establishment opposes his candidacy because he has been working with federal prosecutors in ferreting out corruption in tribal government.

He said they will stop at nothing to prevent him from assuming office.

While this protest was upheld, the election panel rejected a second protest, that the board should have ruled St. Marks off the ballot before the election, was invalid.

In her letter to St. Marks, Fagan asked that all communications with the elections board be conducted through her.

“The Election Board has been verbally harassed and physically threatened by disgruntled candidates and their families in the past and refuse to be subject to this type of behavior,” she said.

Future threats, she said, will be dealt with through tribal court, she said.

 

Reader Comments

(10)

fromthehills84 writes:

There should be a blood degree requirement with certified proof before someone can run for council seat. Have some type of higher education. Be Drug Free & have 10 year back ground check, No Felonies. Be required to perform some type of community service to Families that are in need or to the Elderly. When the reservation was 1st established, it was said that adoptees (farmers from BE) couldn't not run or be on council. Power & Money are everything to some, what a shame.

Gospel writes:

'Cut them off no more funding time to grow up and make decisions like grown ups this is pathetic. ...the abuse of federal money is now at extreme levels and they can not govern themselves obviously.' I agree, one look at congress makes it abundantly clear Americans cannot govern themselves. 'Most mortgages on land last 15-30 years not 200' I don't recall any mortgages tho when this land was stolen.

Kev writes:

Cut them off no more funding time to grow up and make decisions like grown ups this is pathetic. Most mortgages on land last 15-30 years not 200 the abuse of federal money is now at extreme levels and they can not govern themselves obviously.

hearmeout writes:

just a quick remark, how can these councilmen sit and watch our rez. crumble. lets have a whole new election,a valid one. let ken do his job and get on with tribal govt. geez this is all pathetic not once but twice has the people have spoken smh...

Willy writes:

The Federal Government needs to step in and stop the BS. There are a lot of great people at Rocky Boy that are suffering due to this BS.

fedup writes:

this must be some kind of new desperate deal, letting prisoners out of jail to go and vote??? only in Rocky Boy, lol. The corruption goes on and on with people who know they are done and do not want to let go.

fedup writes:

this sounds very much like the way things have been going over the past several elections, total corruption on the Reservation, chance is probably still calling the shots as he has been. the people of Rocky Boy are getting sick of it, even though there wasn't a good candidate to vote for and fill the chairman slot.

nochanges writes:

There will not be any changes until Nov. 4th until then the election board and the council will still be under the direction of a former council member.

dfa writes:

Just more BS being made to try and keep St. Marks from outing all of the corrupt officials that steal from the people.

HavreIII writes:

This is beyond stupid at this point. Even children don't act this childish.