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Fort Belknap swears in seven council members, one race still pending


November 8, 2019

Fort Belknap Indian Community held elections for the Tribal Council Tuesday, but after a surprise heavy snowfall, hazardous road conditions in the area and a tie for one of the elections on the ballot, the final count of the election results in one race have been postponed. 

A press release said that because of the road closures in the area due to the snow, the chief judges at each polling place could not bring their tallies of ballots to the Fort Belknap Agency to meet with the Fort Belknap Election Committee and complete certification of the election results.

Wednesday night, the tribe released an unofficial final count of the ballots. The final count was unofficial due to a tie for the River Assiniboine District Representative race with Nathaniel Mount and Donald Horn each receiving 171 votes.

The election committee, after four inconclusive recounts, has turned that race over to the Fort Belknap Community Council.

The other races have been certified and Brandi King, Mike Fox, Judith King, Jeffery Stiffarm, Dominic Messerly, Lynn Cliff Jr. and Warren Morin were inaugurated into office Thursday.

The unofficial count released Wednesday afternoon listed incumbent Brandi King defeating challenger John Allen 639-610 for the seat of Assiniboine At-Large Representative.

Mike Fox defeated challenger Wes Kill Eagle 660-580 in the face for Gros Ventre At-Large Representative.

Incumbent Jeffery J. Stiffarm Sr. defeated challenger Lorraine Brockie 439-268 in the race for the Gros Ventre At-Large Representative.

Judith King defeated incumbent Curtis Horn 289-247 in the race for Assiniboine At-Large Representative.

Incumbent Dominic Messerly defeated challenger Arlene Cochran 211-146 in the race for River Gros Ventre District Representative seat.

Incumbent Lynn Cliff Jr. defeated challenger Warren Bell 126-68 in the race for Mountain Assiniboine District representative. 

Incumbent Warren D. Morin defeated challenger Geno Levaldo 190-168 in the race for Mountain Gros Ventre District Representative.

For the race between Mount and Horn, a press release from the Fort Belknap Election Committee said in a tie vote, a recount should be conducted and if a tie still can not be broken the tribal council will be informed. The results thereof shall be sent to the tribal council for determination of needed action.

“The Election Committee completed the first two additional tallies, resulting in inconsistent tallies compared to the first tally,” the release said. “This triggered completing a total of five tallies for the seat. The first tally, again, was a tie, the four subsequent tallies were not. Each tally was completed by running ballots through an electronic tallying machine.”

The River Assiniboine district seat election has been referred to the tribal council.

“This does not mean a decision has been made to certify results for this seat,” it said. “That decision has not been made. Action to do so awaits tribal council review, consistent with the ordinance.”


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