Process could take months to resolve
The Chippewa Cree tribe's Election Board will appeal a judge's decision that would have cleared the way for Ken Blatt St. Marks to be sworn in as tribal council chair.
The appeal could delay St. Marks' swearing in for several months as attorneys for both sides prepare their cases and submit briefs.
Judge Dawn Bitz Running Wolf ruled that the board acted improperly in ordering a new election.
In the July 30 vote, St. Marks was the top voter-getter in a five-way race. But the Election Board later ruled that it has let 12 people vote with improper tribal identification cards. Therefore, the board invalidated the results and ordered another election.
St, Marks and his followers objected, contending that this was part of an effort by tribal leadership to get even with him for cooperating with federal officials in a probe of widespread corruption on Rocky Boy's Indian. Reservation, a charge tribal leaders vigorously deny.
"The Election Board has concerns that the order, unless appealed, will affect the validity of future elections and protests," said attorney Lynn Fagan, the Missoula attorney who represents the election board.
Details in Tuesday's Havre Daily News.