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Statutes of the Pit River Tribe of California

Updated: 2005

Election Ordinance of the Pit River Tribe

ORDINANCE NO. 88-2

Enacted 9-22-88. Affirmed 10-27-88. Amended 12-4-88.


Statement of Source of Authority

This ordinance is promulgated pursuant to authority contained in the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe adopted August 15, 1987, and approved by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs on December 10, 1987; Article IX Elections; Article VII, Section 1(s) Tribal Council Powers.


Statement of Purpose

This ordinance is intended to define fair and uniform procedures for voter registration, qualification and participation in the electoral processes of the Pit River Tribe and its constituent eleven autonomous bands in accordance with the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe.


Short Title

This ordinance may be cited as the "Pit River Elections Act."


Article I. Eligibility of Voters and Candidates; Filing for Office

Section 101. Qualified Voters. Any enrolled member, as defined in Article I of the Enrollment Ordinance of the Pit River Tribe, eighteen years of age or older on the date of a tribal election, who has registered in accordance with Section 202 of this ordinance, shall be considered a qualified voter of the Pit River Tribe.

Section 102. Eligibility for Tribal Office. Any qualified voter of the Pit River Tribe, as provided above, shall be eligible to seek and hold elective office, including tribal council office, elected tribal board of committee seats, or membership on the Tribal Council; provided that, in the case of membership on the Council, the candidate must be registered as a member of the particular band he/she seeks to represent; and, provided further that, in the case of other elective office, a candidate must be present at the meeting at which the said office is to be filled in order to be eligible as a candidate.


Article II. Registration; Eligibility to Register; Registrar

Section 202. Registration Required. An enrolled member must register only once under this ordinance in order to vote in elections of the Pit River Tribe; except that, re-registration shall be required in order to change the band with which a voter is registered to vote. An enrolled member shall not be eligible to vote in any election occurring less than 15 days of the date of such member's registration. In the case of a change in band registration, the voter shall not be eligible to vote in any band election occurring less than 15 days of the date of such voter's re-registration.

Section 203. Registration List. Fifteen (15) days before the next scheduled election, the Registrar of Voters shall provide a certified copy of the current Registration List to the Election Committee and shall cause a copy of the list to be posted at the Pit River Tribal Office. For the purposes of this subsection, certification shall consist of a notarized statement by the Registrar that the list is a true and correct list of all persons who have requested registration and who meet the qualifications for voters established by the Pit River Constitution and this Ordinance.

Section 204. Registrar. The Secretary of the Pit River Tribal Council shall serve as the Registrar of Voters for the Pit River Tribe.

Section 205. Notices.

(a) The Registrar of Voters shall, at least 30 days before the date scheduled for a tribal election:

1. Cause copies of a Notice of Election to be mailed to all enrolled tribal members who are eighteen years of age or older, or who will have attained such age by the date of the scheduled election, at the most recent address provided in writing by said member.

2. Cause at least two copies of a Notice of Election to be posted conspicuously at the Pit River Tribal Office in Burney, California.

(b) The Notice of Election shall provide all of the following information:

1. The date and time of the election;

2. The exact location of each tribal election place;

3. The subject matter of the election;

4. Notice that Pit River tribal voter registration is required, the date by which a voter must register to be eligible to vote in the election that is the subject of the notice, the place where voters can register.

(c) The Tribal secretary shall send letters to all tribal members within a reasonable time after their eighteenth birthday informing them of the need to register in order to be eligible to vote in tribal elections. Each Tribal Council member shall inform members of their band of voter registration requirements and encourage registration.


Article III. Election Committee

Section 301. Establishment of Election Committee. The Pit River Tribal Election Committee (herein "Election Committee") is hereby established for the purposes of conducting and supervising all tribal elections, regular or special, in accordance with the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe and this ordinance; deciding election disputes; enforcing this ordinance; and promulgating such additional rules for the conduct of elections as may be necessary from time to time.

Section 302. Composition. The Election Committee shall consist of six members, four long terms and two temporary. Four members shall be appointed by the Tribal Chairperson, subject to the approval of the tribal council, for a term of one year commencing on November first following the annual tribal meeting at which officers are elected and ending on October thirty-first, or such later date as successor committee members are appointed and approved by the council. A committee chairperson and secretary shall be selected by the long term committee members from among its own members. On election day or within seven days preceding an election, two additional members shall be appointed by the committee chairperson to serve on the committee for the duration of the subject election.

Section 303. Qualifications.

(a) The members of the election committee shall be qualified voters of the tribe.

(b) In the event that any member of the election committee is nominated as a candidate for an office to be filled during his or her term of office on the Committee he or she shall withdraw from the Committee and the committee Chairperson, or remaining Committee members in the event the Chairperson is nominated for office, shall appoint another to serve in his or her place.

Section 304. Budget. The Election Committee shall request that a specified amount be budgeted by the Pit River Tribal Council in each fiscal year tribal budget under a separate line item. The funds budgeted shall be used in accordance with all tribal financial plans of operation for conducting tribal elections in accordance with this ordinance only.

Section 305. Rulemaking.

(a) The election committee shall have authority to recommend such rules as they may deem necessary to provide for fair and efficient elections under this Ordinance.

(b) No rule recommended under the authority of this section shall be inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance or the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe.

(c) All rules recommended are subject to the approval of the Tribal Council.

Section 306. Duties of Committee. In addition to performing any other duties delegated to the Committee by this Ordinance, the Committee shall:

(a) Direct the preparation of forms for use as nominating petitions, ballots and other forms as may be required, and make them available to tribal members.

(b) Certify the eligibility of candidates for office.

Section 307. Removal. The Tribal Council, or the Election Committee by majority vote of its long-term members, may remove any member of the Election Committee from office, but only for cause after providing written notice of intent to do so, specifying the reason for such action and providing an opportunity for the person to be removed to answer the charges against him/her. Notice must be provided at least five working days in advance of the date set for any hearing on the removal.


Article IV. Election Procedure, Ballot Count, Certification

Section 401. Election Places and Times.

(a) All general elections of the Pit River Tribe shall be conducted at the Pit River Tribal Office in Burney, California, or such other location(s) designated in election notices issued pursuant to Section 205 above. Election of officers shall occur during the annual August tribal meeting. Registered voters must be present at the tribal meeting in order to vote.

(b) Band elections not occurring at the annual August tribal meeting shall be at a time and place designated by the band.

(c) The location for general elections other than those occurring at the annual August tribal meeting shall be the Pit River Tribe office in Burney, California, or such other location(s) designated in election notices issued pursuant to Section 205 above. The election shall begin at 10:00 am or as other specified on the election notice issued pursuant to this ordinance.

Section 402. Election Procedure.

(a) On the date of the election, at least one member of the Election Committee shall be present at the location designated for the election at all times during election hours and they shall:

1. Open the doors at the specified time

2. Verify the Pit River voter registration, that is, eligibility, of each person requesting a ballot, and ensure that no person who is not on the registered voter list receives a ballot. Each registered voter must sign his name and address, in ink, in the official Election Committee Registration Book or sign in sheet, as designated by the election committee. If their name appears in the Registration Book and no question of the voter's eligibility is raised by a member of the Election Committee, the voters shall be given a blank numbered ballot, as described herein. If a question of eligibility does arise, the voter shall be required to show proof of their eligibility to the Election Committee. If the Committee is satisfied the voter shall be given a blank numbered ballot and allowed to vote.

3. After it has been determined that a voter shall be issued a ballot, a member of the Election Committee shall initial and issue a ballot stamped with the words "OFFICIAL BALLOT OF THE PIT RIVE TRIBE", shall deliver the ballot to the voter and shall make an appropriate enter in the voting registry to ensure against any person voting more than once on any matter for which separate ballots are distributed.

4. Collect ballots for tallying at the conclusion of voting.

(b) Terms of Office. The position of Tribal Chairperson is for a term of 2 years beginning in the year 1987 and then every 2 years thereafter. The position of Vice-Chair, Secretary, Recording Secretary, Treasurer and Sergeant-At-Arms are for a term of year beginning in the year 1987 and then every year thereafter. The positions of band representative on the tribal council are for a term of 1 year beginning in the year 1987 and then every year thereafter. Unless otherwise specified in applicable charters or tribal council approved bylaws, all committee and board members shall serve one year terms.

All terms commence at the first regularly scheduled tribal council meeting following the annual tribal election conducted in August of each year, and end when a successor is elected and seated in accordance with this ordinance. If elections are for any reason delayed, terms shall commence on the date of the first regularly scheduled council meeting following the actual election date. A delayed election shall not be cause to delay subsequent elections even though this may shorten terms of office of officials elected at a delayed election to a period of less than one year.

(c) Nominations. Candidates shall be nominated from the floor. Nominations will take place at the meeting held for committee shall be held for purpose of holding elections. The Chairperson of the election committee shall open and receive nominations by office. Any registered voter present at the meeting may nominate a candidate from the floor provided the candidate is duly registered, and must be seconded by another registered voter. If no second is made, the nomination shall be deemed defeated. Upon seconding, the candidate shall be given an opportunity to decline or accept the nomination. If it is accepted, his/her name shall be conspicuously posted as a candidate for the office for which he/she has been nominated, along with any other candidates for that same office, in a location visible to those in attendance at the elections.

(d) Election of Band Representative. Election of band tribal council representatives will be conducted in accordance with Article V. Band Elections.

(e) Upon the close of voting, the election committee members shall collect ballots, examine all ballots cast therein, eliminate any spoiled or mutilated ballots and then determine the number of votes cast for each candidate or issue.

Method of Tally:

1. Election at annual meetings. The count shall be called out and the written tally maintained in a conspicuous location visible to those in attendance.

2. Election at other than tribal meetings. A written tally shall be maintained by the election committee and shall be counted twice to ensure accuracy.

The candidate for tribal council office receiving the highest number of votes cast for that office shall be declared winner.

Election of Multiple Committee Seats: Multiple committee seats shall be filled via separate election on each of the multiple seats to be filled. Candidates must be nominated for a specific committee seat. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast for that committee seat shall be declared a winner.

(f) The Election Committee shall thereafter prepare a certification of the results of the election which shall be signed by each member of the Committee and which shall contain the following information.

1. The number of ballots cast,

2. The number of invalid ballots eliminated,

3. The total number of valid ballots,

4. The persons elected to office, the number of votes received by each of those persons, and the office to which they were elected,

5. The outcome of each issue on the ballot, and

6. The date and time of certification.

Section 403. Voting method; proxies and absentee ballots prohibited.

(a) Each registered voter may cast one vote by secret ballot for each office or issue to be voted on by the general membership of the Pit River Tribe.

(b) A voter must personally cash his/her voter on election day at the designated time and place. No voter may have any other person cast his/her vote. No proxy nor absentee voting shall be allowed.

(c) Voters shall mark their ballots. To be valid, the mark must be identifiable with the matter for which it intended. After the ballot is marked, the voter shall fold the ballot so that the face or printed side is concealed, and with the official mark "OFFICIAL BALLOT PIT RIVER TRIBE" and the Election Committee member's initials visible on the outside.

(d) The folded ballot shall be collected by the Election Committee member for counting. No ballot shall be collected or counted unless the official mark "OFFICIAL BALLOT OF THE PIT RIVER TRIBE" and the Election Committee member's initials appear on the outside of the folded ballot.

(e) Only upon request of the voter who cannot read the English language, or because of blindness or other medical condition cannot mark the ballot, the said voter may be assisted by an Election Committee member in marking the ballot, but the Committee Member shall neither by word, action or expression, influence or attempt to influence the voter in the marking of the ballot.

Section 405. Ballots.

(a) The Election Committee shall prescribe the form of the ballots to be used in each election

(b) All ballots shall be kept secure by the Election Committee until the results of the election have been certified, the time for requesting a recount and/or filing complaints or petitions for review has passed, and in any case, until at least thirty days have passed since the election.

Section 406. Recount of Votes.

(a) In the event that the person receiving the highest number of votes for an officer has fewer than ten votes more than the next person receiving the next highest number of votes, the latter may, upon verbal request to the Election Committee at the meeting at which the election is being conducted, have the votes for that particular office recounted by the Election Committee.

Section 407. Ties, Run-offs.

(a) In the event that two or more candidates for the same tribal council office or committee seat receive an equal number of votes and no candidate has received a greater number of votes, a run-off election shall be held.

(b) A run-off election shall be held in the same manner as a general election as provided by this Ordinance, except that only the candidates who receive equal number of votes shall be candidates in the run-off. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes in the run-off election shall be elected to the position.

Section 408. Disputes.

(a) Any qualified voter may, within 7 days of an election, file a complaint under penalty of perjury with the Election Committee alleging any election irregularity and demanding relief. This procedure shall be the only method of presenting an election dispute to the Committee.

(b) Disputes regarding band elections shall be handled as set forth in Article V, hereof.

(c) The election committee shall decide all disputes concerning any general election within thirty days of receipt of a complaint, and their decision shall be final, unless within 10 days of that decision, a petition for review by the Tribal Council is filed with registrar. The Tribal Council may, by a vote of two-thirds of all of the members of the Council reverse the decision of the Committee. The decision of the Tribal Council shall be final.

(d) In deciding any dispute the Committee shall gather such facts as are available and necessary for a fair resolution of the problem and shall provide each party to the dispute an opportunity to present their case to the committee. Any decision of the committee shall be by a majority vote thereof.


Article V. Band Elections.

Section 501. Method of Election. Each of the eleven autonomous bands of Pit River Indians shall conduct its own election of its tribal council representative and alternate representative in accordance with the customs, traditions and practices of the said bands.

Section 502. Time of Election. Said election shall be conducted at the August annual meeting of the tribe or at a special band meeting convened for the express purpose of band elections, within thirty (30) days after the annual meeting.

Section 503. Certification of Election results. At the conclusion of band elections, a band member shall certify the election results to the Chairperson of the Election Committee. For elections occurring at the annual meeting, the Chairperson shall publicly announce the election result and proceed to certify said result as final. For elections occurring at a special meeting, a band member shall certify the election results to the Chairperson of the Election Committee who shall post the result at the tribal office for two weeks. At the end of said two week period, if no objection is filed with the Chairperson, the Chairperson shall certify said result as final.

Section 504. Band Decision Not To Participate In Tribal Affairs. The band is an autonomous unit within the Tribe and has the right to choose not to participate in Tribal Affairs, provided that a majority of the registered voters of that particular Band votes not to participate at a specially-called, duly-petitioned and noticed meeting conducted for that purpose by the tribe's Election Committee. A Band which has elected not to participate in Tribal Affairs may rescind that election by the vote of a majority of the registered voters of the Band at a specially-called, duly-petitioned and noticed meeting conducted for that purpose by the tribe's Election Committee.


Article VI. Recall, Initiative, Referendum, Constitution, Amendment.

Section 601. Recall Election.

(a) Officers. Upon receipt of a petition signed by at least fifty (50) registered voters, duly registered at the time of the petition was signed, calling for the recall of any officer of the Tribe, it shall be the duty of the Election Committee, to verify the validity of said signatures within ten (10) days and, as appropriate, within thirty days of the date of receipt of said petition, to schedule and conduct a special meeting of the Tribe at which the membership shall vote by secret ballot on the recall. At least ten (10) days before said meeting, the officer shall be given a copy of the recall petition submitted to the Election Committee, and shall be given an opportunity to address the person attending the recall meeting before voting begins. A quorum for said meeting is 50 qualified voters. A majority vote of qualified voters in attendance shall decide the recall, provided a quorum is present for the vote. Failure to constitute a quorum at a recall meeting duly noticed pursuant to this ordinance shall constitute a no vote on a recall petition. An elected official may be subjected to recall proceedings only once during any term of office.

(b) Council members. Upon presentation to the Election Committee of petition for the recall of a Council member signed by a majority of the enrolled registered voters of the particular band represented by the Council member named in the petition, the Election Committee shall within ten (10) days verify the qualifications of the signatories and, as appropriate, validate or deny the petition. If validated, written notice stating the date the validated recall petition is scheduled to be presented to the Tribal Council shall be sent to the affected councilperson and to the spokesperson for the petitioners. Thereafter, the petition shall be presented to the Tribal Council on the date designated in the notice and the Council member shall, upon presentation of the petition in the manner set forth in the succeeding paragraph, be deemed recalled.

A validated recall petition shall be deemed presented to the Tribal Council when a member of the Election Committee and a spokesperson for the petitioners, who shall be a registered tribal voter, have appeared before the Council and delivered the petition. The spokesperson shall address the Council and publicly state the grounds for the recall. The Tribal Council shall have the opportunity to direct questions to the spokesperson regarding the grounds for the recall. Immediately thereafter, the Election Committee member in attendance shall deliver the petition to the Council.

Within thirty (30) days after presentation of a Councilmember recall petition to the Tribal Council, the Election Committee shall schedule and conduct among the members of the band whose Council member was recalled, a duly-noticed special meeting at which the qualified voters of the band shall elect a successor Council member to serve until the next annual general meeting of the Tribe. Recall shall not render an otherwise qualified band member ineligible for election, including immediate reelection after recall as a councilmember.

Section 602. Initiative. Upon receipt by the Election Committee of a valid petition signed by at least fifty (50) qualified voters, the Election Committee shall call and conduct within sixty (60) days, an initiative election at a special meeting of the Tribe. Such meeting shall be for the purpose of presenting to the qualified voters for their determination any issue or question except recall, and as otherwise provided in the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe. A quorum for such a meeting shall be fifty (50) qualified voters. A decision by the majority of those voting shall be binding on the Tribal Council until it expires by its own terms or is otherwise changed by action of the voters. Failure to constitute a quorum at a meeting duly noticed and convened under this section shall constitute rejection of the initiative. Once an initiative issue has been submitted to the voters and rejected, that same issue shall not again be considered for such action for at least six (6) months.

Section 603. Referendum. Upon receipt of a valid resolution supported by an affirmative vote of a quorum of the Tribal Council, the Election Committee shall refer to the voters for their determination, such issue(s) as may be requested by the Tribal Council. The referendum may be conducted at an annual or special meeting of the Tribe. Said meeting shall be subject to a quorum of fifty (50) qualified voters. A majority of those voting shall decide the issue and such decision shall be binding on the Tribal Council until otherwise changed by the voters.

Section 604. Constitutional Amendments. Amendments to the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe may be proposed by either of the following documents being submitted to the tribal Election Committee and setting forth the desired modification:

(1) A resolution explaining the proposed language and which is supported by an affirmative vote of a quorum of the members of the Tribal Council.

(2) A petition signed by at least fifty (50) qualified voters.

Upon receipt of the resolution or petition, the Election Committee shall call and conduct a special amendment election in accordance with Article XIII of the Constitution and provisions set forth in this ordinance. The specific language which will become part of the Constitution, if such election the proposed amendment is adopted and approved, shall appear on the ballot including language changed of any other parts of the governing document that will be affected by such modification. If at such election the proposed amendments are adopted by a majority of those voting, provided that at least fifty (50) qualified voters shall vote, that amendment shall thereupon take effect.


Article VII. Petitions.

The following provisions shall apply to all petitions requiring Election Committee validation, including initiative, referendum, recall, or any other purpose.

Section 701. Petition Format. Only an enrolled Pit River Tribal Member 18 years of age or over who is registered as a voter of the Pit River Tribe shall be eligible to initiate, collect signatures and submit a petition to the Election Committee. A petition must specifically state its purpose and any petition for recall, initiative, or referendum shall include a statement in not more than 500 words setting forth the grounds on which the recall, initiative, referendum is sought. Petitions may consist of as many pages as are necessary to accommodate the signatures of the petitioners. However, each page must set forth the purpose of the petition.

Section 702. Eligibility to Petition. Only persons who are duly registered shall be entitled to sign a petition and each signer shall, at the time of signing such petition, personally affix the date of signing and his place of residence.

Section 703. Filing Petitions. No petition will be accepted until a spokesperson for the petitioners declares in writing to the Chairperson of the Election Committee on his/her authorized representative that he wished to make an official filing. Upon notification, the Chairperson shall call, notice, and convene a meeting of the election board so that the petition may be officially filed. This meeting shall be held not more than seven (7) working days from the date of receipt of the request to officially file the petition. The spokesman for the petitioners shall be notified in writing of the date, time and place of the meeting not less than four (4) days before the meeting is to take place.

In order to conduct the necessary examination of the petitions submitted, only the tribal Election Committee members and no more than three official spokesmen for the petition will be allowed to attend this meeting.

Section 704. Action on Petitions. When the meeting has been called to order, the spokesman for the petitioners shall officially present the original of the petition to the Election Committee.

The Chairperson of the Election Committee shall immediately indicate thereon the date of receipt and shall inform the spokesperson submitting the petition that no additional signatures may be added to the petition. Upon receipt of the petition in the above manner, the Election Committee shall immediately review on a petition more than once; all but one of his signatures shall be stricken. The Election Committee shall than determine whether the required number of signatures have been affixed to any petition and whether those signing were enrolled members of the Pit River Tribe, at least 1 8 years of age and registered voters at the time of signing. When the review of the petition is complete, the Chairperson of the Election Committee shall acknowledge, in writing, to the person submitting the petition, receipt of the petition, indicating the exact number of signatures which are attached. Should the petition prove to be valid, it shall then be the duty of the Election Committee to call for an election or otherwise proceed in accordance with this ordinance.


Article VIII. Miscellaneous.

Section 801. Savings Clause. If any provision of this ordinance is found to be contrary to any trial or federal law by a court of competent jurisdiction, only that provision shall be stricken and all other provisions of this ordinance shall remain in effect.


Article IX. Effective Date of Ordinance.

This ordinance shall become effective upon adoption by majority vote of the Pit River Tribal Council meeting in accordance with the quorum requirement of Article XI, Section 1 (a), of the Constitution of the Pit River Tribe.

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