Law and Order Code of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, Nevada
Code last amended: 2008
Chapter 15. Tribal Council Elections
This chapter was originally enacted by the Tribal Council many years ago, it was re-enacted by the Tribal Council as part of the Law & Order Code on September 13, 1988. The only change has been to expand voting to the Winnemucca Indian Colony since a majority of the people that live there are members of the Fort McDermitt Tribe.
Sec. 1. Candidates.
In accordance with Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution and By-Laws, any qualified voter of the Tribe may announce his candidacy by notifying the Secretary of the Tribal Council, in writing, of his candidacy and paying a registration fee of $10.00 at least 15 days prior to the election. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to post the names of all candidates who have so filed at least days before the election. The Filing Fee shall be used by the Election Committee to cover costs of mileage to the Winnemucca Polling place and lunch and dinner on Election Day for themselves and the Bureau of Indian Affairs staff assigned as observers.
Sec. 2. Eligible Voters.
In accordance with Article IV, section 4, of the Constitution any member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe who is 21 years of age or over shall be entitled to vote.
Sec. 3. Election Committee; Appointment; Restrictions Poll Watchers.
(a) Appointment. (1) An Election Committee consisting of six members shall be appointed by the Tribal Council at the first Tribal Council Meeting held the month of October of every second year. All persons appointed to the Election Committee must be members of the Fort McDermitt Tribe. The Committee shall elect a Chairman, a Secretary and two Vice-Chairman, one Vice-Chairman for the Winnemucca Indian Colony and one for the Old Reservation. After the Committee has elected its officials, the Chairman will request that the Superintendent of the Western Nevada Agency detail to the election one employee to view the voting at the Old Reservation and one to view the voting at the Winnemucca Indian Colony as official observers and that a uniformed member of his police force be detailed to each location.
(2) No Tribal Council member or candidate for office shall be eligible for appointment to the Election Committee.
(b) Poll Watchers. The Tribal Council shall hire four Poll Watchers to assist the Election Committee in conducting the election, two shall be assigned to the Old Reservation polling place and two to the Winnemucca Indian Colony polling place.
Sec. 4. Election Committee; Duties.
(a) Polling Place. The Election Committee shall administer voting at the Tribal Community Buildings or other accessible places between the hours of 7:30 A.M. and 7:00 P.M.
(b) Equal Distribution of Duties. The Chairman shall divide the duties of the Election Committee as equally as possible between himself and the other five members of the Election Committee.
(c) Eligible Voter List. The Election Committee shall maintain a list of eligible voters, checking off the name of each voter who casts a vote to ensure that no person votes twice.
(d) Preventing Vote Getting. The Election Committee and Poll Watchers shall take appropriate steps to prevent candidates from seeking votes within 200 feet of the polling place while the polls are open including contacting law enforcement officials and lodging an official protest with the Tribal Council at its next meeting.
(e) Voting; Method. The Election Committee shall ensure that every eligible voter can cast his or her vote in secrecy and without interruption.
(f) Decisions on Ability to Vote. The Election Committee shall decide all challenges to the right of any person to vote. The decision of the Election Committee shall be final.
(g) Ballot Box; Security Measures; Safe Keeping. The Election Committee shall secure the ballot boxes and ensure that they are empty and locked before election day or at least before balloting begins. The boxes shall not be opened except after the polling place is closed and centrally located for the purpose of counting ballots cast. When the ballots have been counted and the Election Committee is satisfied with its tally, voting lists, unused ballots, voided ballots, the abstract of the tally sheet, and a certificate signed by all members of the Election Committee, attesting to the results of the election will be locked in one ballot box and secured until the next business day. Thereafter the Chairman or Vice-Chairman shall secure the ballot box, however, the Chairman of the Election Committee shall retain the key until the next Tribal Council Meeting. At the meeting, the key shall be relinquished to the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Tribal Council.
Sec. 5. Tallying the Votes
At the closing of the polls, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs observer watching clearly, the Chairman of the Election Committee shall unlock the ballot box, remove the ballots one by one and read the vote or votes cast, and show the ballot read to the Vice-Chairmen and the Bureau of Indian Affairs observers to ensure the ballots were read correctly. Following the tally of all votes cast, the results shall be cross-checked. The results shall be certified by the Election Committee by the signing of their signatures thereto. A copy of this certification shall be posted publicly.
Sec. 6. Administration of Election Day.
(a) Election Dates. In accordance with the Constitution, the election for ending Tribal Council positions shall be every two years on the second Saturday in November.
(b) Election Notices. Special notices advising of the coming election shall be prepared by the Election Committee and shall be posted at least 12 days before the scheduled election at prominent places within the Fort McDermitt and McDermitt communities and the Winnemucca Indian Colony. Notices shall advise the public of the location of the polling place, times the polls will be open.
Sec. 7. Ballots; Form.
Ballots shall be prepared by the Secretary of the Tribal Council and shall either be printed or copied, prenumbered consecutively starting with No. 1. The names of the candidates shall be listed in the order in which their nominations were received by the Secretary of the Tribal Council as demonstrated by the date and time stamp.
Sec. 8. Method of Casting Vote.
Each prospective voter, after being identified as an eligible voter, shall be handed an unused ballot by a member of the Election Committee and shall sign his name to the ballot to acknowledge that he or she has received the ballot. After making the appropriate mark opposite the name of the candidate voted for, the voter shall fold the ballot to hide his votes and he or she shall personally deposit his or her vote into the ballot box.
If the voter "spoils" or otherwise renders a ballot void or voidable, the spoiled ballot shall be appropriately marked and another issued the voter. Spoiled ballots shall also be deposited in the ballot box and tallied.
All unused ballots shall be placed in an envelope marked "UNUSED BALLOTS" and locked in a ballot box after the votes have been tallied.
All ballots not properly marked, e.g., more votes were cast than the voter could cast, the ballot shall be marked "REJECTED".
Sec. 9. Absentee Voting.
Absentee ballots shall be sent to all eligible voters requested by non-resident tribal members or those who shall not be able to cast their vote in person on election day at either polling place. Absentee ballots must be received through the United States Mail before the close of the day votes are cast to be eligible to be counted. Absentee ballots shall be counted and tallied in the same manner as votes cast personally.
Sec. 10. Canvass.
In accordance with Article III, section 2 of the Constitution, all elections for Tribal Council positions shall be canvassed and certified by the sitting Tribal Council or a Board appointed by it. No candidate shall be considered legally elected, nor hold office, until such canvass and certification shall have been made by the Tribal Council within five days of the election.
Sec. 11. Contesting Election Results; Method.
Any member of the Fort McDermitt Tribe whether or not candidates may challenge the election and its results, in writing, within three days after the election to the Secretary of the Tribal Council. The Secretary shall then notify and transmit copies of the challenge or challenges to the Chairman who shall call a Special Meeting of the Tribal Council within four days of the receipt of the first challenge. The decision of the Tribal Council shall be final.
Sec. 12. Contesting Election Results; Grounds
The grounds for contesting a Tribal Council election shall be:
(a) Misconduct by Election Committee member.
(b) Person not eligible to assume office.
(c) Giving or receiving a bribe.
(d) Giving reward for casting vote.
(e) Preventing a person to vote.
(f) Casting illegal votes.
(g) Erroneous counting of ballots.
Sec. 13. Contesting Election Results; Form.
A statement shall be prepared advising the following:
(a) Name of the party contesting the election.
(b) Name of person whose right to hold office is contested.
(c) Grounds for contest.
Sec. 14. Declaration by Tribal Council.
If the election results are uncontested or all challenges have been reviewed and addressed, the tribal Council shall declare the names of the persons elected publicly in order of the highest number of votes obtained.
Sec. 15. Authority of BIA Employees During Elections.
Per policy statement of the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued by the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, BIA employees shall only provide assistance to Tribes during elections and shall not interfere in the election process.
Sec. 16. Definitions.
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(a) "Days", as used in this chapter, means regular work days. Holidays and weekend days are not counted.
(b) "Constitution and By-laws", as used in this chapter, means the Constitution and By-laws of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe.