October 14, 2013 |

Election Board to appeal decision on St. Marks

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.

Reader Comments

(6)

JusticeHunter writes:

Has anyone ever raised the issue of a conflict of interest with the tribal attorneys. Dan Belcourt represents the business committee which per constitution is comprised of the chairman and the other eight councilmembers; and Lynn Fagan who is employed with the Belcourt law firm represents the tribal election board.

NoRights writes:

Bill, sounds good but does not apply on the rez. Since tribal governments have their own constitution and bill of rights, the U.S. Constitution does not apply to tribes because the tribes' authority does not come from the U.S. Constitution, rather their inherent authority that pre-dates the U.S. Constitution. Part of being a sovereign nation. That's why your councilmen can roughshod over everybody and get away with it. Nice try though.

fedup writes:

chance and his mother in law control the election board and have done so for the past several elections. there has not been a smooth and straight election at Rocky Boy since the ex con has been part of our government. the Tribal constitution and election ordinance need a total revision by people who care about the future of the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

bill writes:

So would the 12 votes be an issue if Rick had won? If the people had wanted you Rick, you would have received the most votes. Do you understand? Its time to look into Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241, Conspiracy Against Rights. File a class action suit for conspiracy to oppress free exercise of tribal election rights. Congress has declared any conspiracy which violates federally protected rights a crime regardless of where the offense occurs. Sweep all the corrupted officials out once and for all.

MzMontana writes:

This is ludicrous. The election boards antics are pathetic. What an embarrassment to the tribe! It is no wonder there is so much corruption.

beautific writes:

the election board has concerns it will affect the validity of future elections.... that is simply priceless.