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Election board rules tribal chief election results invalid after appeal filed

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AKWESASNE - A special election for tribal chief and sub-chief has been scheduled after an election appeal was accepted.

The election board heard an appeal from a community member who presented the election board with evidence that the integrity of the June 2 Election and Referendum Ordinance was jeopardized, according to a release from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council. After careful consideration of the facts presented and documentation supporting the appeal, the election board determined that the appeal was successful.

The election board ruled the June 1 tribal election for the positions of chief and sub-chief were null and void.

The unofficial results of the election had incumbent Chief Randy Hart on top with 436 write-in votes. Beverly Cook finished as the runner up with 376 votes. Rounding out the significant vote-getters were Gary Cole with 109 votes and Gerald Laughing with 47.

The unofficial results of the sub-chief race saw incumbent Shelley Jacobs lead the field with 434 votes. Her closest competition was Debra Martin, who garnered 297 votes. Andrew J. Cook picked up 174 votes and Jolene Jackson notched 47 votes.

The election board said the races for chief judge, two Traffic Court judges and the two referendum results were not been affected by the appeal.

To ensure fairness and integrity to the process of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council elections, the election board has determined that a special election will be held on July 13 for the positions of chief and sub-chief.

According to the press release, no caucus will be conducted for the July 13 special election, candidates from the May 4 caucus will remain on the July 13 ballot for the position they had been nominated for, and candidates who wish to remove themselves from the July 13 special election should contact the election board by June 24.

Absentee ballots are available from the Tribal Clerk’s office June 24 through July 10. In-home voting will be on July 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-in voting at the community building lobby will be on July 11 and 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The special election will take place on July 13 at the community building lobby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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