Rocky Boy throws out special election results
Stacey Small, who won an electoral victory after losing a court battle about a previous election, will have to take to campaigning again after the election board at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation approved a protest and has ordered another special election.
LeAnn Montes, attorney for the Chippewa Cree Tribe at Rocky Boy, said this morning that the results of the Aug. 18 election have been overturned and a new election to fill a vacant seat on the Chippewa Cree Tribe's Business Committee will be scheduled.
"The election board, by consensus vote, decided to conduct a new election, " she said, adding that a date had not been set by the time of this morning's interview.
Small, who protested the results of the 2010 primary election, said in an interview Wednesday before the new election was announced, that he is ready to run again.
"If we have to do the election over again I will do the same thing, " he said. "All this corruption and all these shady deals that are going on, they need to come to an end. "
He added that he appreciates the support tribal members gave him in the August election.
"I am humbled and honored by their support, " Small said.
Donovan Stump, who filed the protest leading to the new election, said this morning he would be issuing a press release about the protest and new election, but declined to comment further.
When called this morning, a representative of the election board said the board was in the middle of a meeting and referred all questions to Montes. When called again an hour-and-a-half later, a tribal government employee said no members of the board remained in the building.
Montes said the meeting this morning could well have been to pick a date for the election, which she expects will occur this month. The candidates will be the same approved candidates from the August election, she said.
She said the primary reason for calling a new election was a complaint filed about electioneering, people campaigning for candidates within 50 feet of the polling places during the election.
Montes said she did not know if she was authorized by the election board to release the name of the person who filed the protest, or about who the electioneering complaint was made or other details of the protest.
Small protested the results of the 2010 primary election, with a primary complaint that a candidate had not been properly screened by the election committee because that candidate had been convicted of a felony within five years of the election, which under Rocky Boy's code made him ineligible.
One of the candidates had been convicted, but the conviction was struck from his record after he served a deferred imposition of sentence.
The election board denied Small's protest, and he appealed to the tribal courts.
After the judge — the nephew of the candidate Small was protesting — dismissed the complaint without holding a hearing, Small appealed that decision.
Tribal Appellate Judge Torian Donahoe in May sent the complaint back to the courts, saying the decision included multiple errors and procedural problems and Small had to be offered a hearing to make his case.
The special judge brought in to hear the complaint, Thomas Weathers, ruled that the tribal officials and the election board were protected from the lawsuit due to the Chippewa Cree Tribe's sovereign immunity.
The election board also denied a protest in the 2008 general election for the Business Committee, filed by candidate Kenneth Blatt St. Marks. After a tribal judge ordered a new election, the board appealed that decision and Donahoe dismissed the order, saying the tribal court had exceeded its authority.
The special election won by Small was held in August to fill the slot vacated when Bruce Sunchild Sr. won a special election in July to take the chair of the council, left empty when Raymond "Jake" Parker Jr. resigned one day prior to pleading guilty in federal court to embezzling funds from the tribe. Parker had used a credit card issued to the tribe for personal use.
Small narrowly won the election, with 157 votes to Stump's 144. The third-place candidate, Tim Koop Sr., received 114 votes.
Small said at least two recounts had been held due to Stump's protest, resulting in the same counts.
He added that the process that has led to the previous protests and now to another election is part of why he wants to be on the tribe's governing body.
"The whole thing that's going on in our tribe, it's disgusting, it's pitiful, " he said.