July 13, 2013

Special tribal election today


---- — AKWESASNE — A special election will be held today at the St. Regis Mohawk Community Building to choose a chief and sub-chief.

Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Route 37 site.

Absentee ballots were disbursed, in-home voting was conducted for elders and others who cannot appear in person at the voting site, and walk-in voting has already taken place.

Unofficial results are expected to be released by the Tribal Election Board tonight.

The tribe’s June 1 election unofficially declared Chief Randy Hart and Sub-Chief Shelley Jacobs as winners.

Hart had received 436 write-in votes, compared to 376 for Beverly Cook, 109 for Gary Cole and 47 for Gerald Laughing.

Jacobs had received 434 votes, compared to 297 for Debra Martin, 174 for Andrew Cook and 47 for Jolene Jackson.

The same candidates seek the positions, with each on the ballot except Hart; he is a write-in candidate.

But an appeal made by an unnamed community member that challenged the outcome was upheld by the Election Board, stating at the time that there was “evidence that the integrity of the June 1 election … was jeopardized.”

The board members declared those results null and void and scheduled the special election.

There were no challenges to the other positions filled by the June 1 vote. And the other posts decided then —  chief judge of the Tribal County, two Traffic Court judges and votes on two referendums — were not included in the voided results.

Peter J. Herne was elected chief judge of the Tribal Court, and Steven Cook and Lois Terrance won seats as Traffic Court judges.

The referendums — adoption of a tribal-procedural act and creation of a community-recreation center — were both approved.

Email Denise A.