General elections to vote for Tribal Council Members shall be held in odd numbered years on the first Saturday of May beginning in 1997. Election of Tribal Council Members shall be staggered so that no more than four Council seats shall be up for election at any one time.
Special elections shall be held when called for by the Tribal Council, by this constitution, or by the voters, as provided for in this constitution or appropriate ordinances.
The first election of Tribal Council Members under this constitution shall be held on the first Saturday of May 1997. The incumbent President and Vice President of the Tribal Council as of the date of the adoption of this constitution shall remain in office until the general election to be held in May 1999. The incumbent Tribal Council shall select an incumbent Area Council Member from the northern area and an incumbent Area Council Member from the southern area who shall both remain in office until the general election to be held in May 1999. The remaining three (3) seats on the Tribal Council shall be declared vacant for purposes of the first election. These three (3) vacant seats shall include one (1) seat from the northern area, one (1) seat from the southern area, and one (1) seat at-large. The candidates receiving the highest number of votes for each vacant council seat in the first election in 1997 shall be declared the winners and shall serve four year terms until the general election to be held in May 2001. The first election shall be held in accordance with all other applicable provisions of this constitution and applicable ordinances.
The Tribal Council shall appoint an Election Board to conduct all elections including all special elections. The Election Board shall consist of one (1) tribal member from the northern area, one (1) tribal member from the southern area, one (1) tribal member age 55 or older, one (1) tribal member between the ages of 35 and 54, and one (1) tribal member between the ages of 18 and 34, Provided, That all members of the Election Board shall be at least 18 years of age, and Provided, further that an Election Board member shall not be eligible to run for a seat on the Tribal Council. All Election Board Members shall serve for a specific term of office as established by the election ordinance. The Election Board may appoint clerks, poll workers and others to assist the Election Board with conducting the election.
For all elections of Tribal Council Members the Election Board shall conduct a nomination meeting of eligible voters to nominate tribal members as candidates for Tribal Council seats. The Election Board may schedule the nomination meeting before the day scheduled for the election, or on the day of the election, Provided, That the Election Board shall mail to all eligible tribal voters advance notice of both the date of the nomination meeting and the date of the election at least thirty (30) days prior to the nomination meeting. At the nomination meeting, all eligible voters, as defined in Section 7 of this Article, may submit nominations for any vacant seat. A person may not be nominated as a candidate for more than one seat.
Persons nominated to run for Tribal Council seats must be enrolled tribal members who meet the age requirements set forth in Article IV on or before the date of the election, and they must meet the residency requirements set forth in Article IV for at least one year prior to the date of the election. No person may run for a Tribal Council seat who has served twelve (12) or more consecutive months in any federal, state or tribal jail or prison.
All tribal members who are eighteen (18) years or older and who reside within the territory of the Tribe or within one hundred fifty (150) miles of the territory of the Tribe shall be eligible to vote.
All voting at regular and special elections shall be done by secret written ballot.
Absentee voting shall not be permitted.
The Election Board shall certify the results of an election within three (3) days after the election day. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes for each available seat shall be declared the winner.
Tie votes between two or more candidates shall be decided in a special runoff election. All eligible voters shall be entitled to vote in any runoff election. If a runoff election ends in another tie, the outcome shall be decided by the drawing of straws by the candidates tied for that office. The Election Board shall certify the results of any runoff election within three (3) days after the runoff election day.
Any tribal member may challenge the results of any election by presenting his or her challenge to the Tribal Court within five (5) days after the election results are certified. The Tribal Court shall decide all election challenges within ten (10) days from the date the challenge is filed. Any appeals shall be filed with the Court of Appeals within five (5) days of the issuance of the Tribal Court decision, and the Court of Appeals shall decide the appeal within ten (10) days. If the Tribal Court or Court of Appeals invalidates the election results, a new election shall be held within sixty (60) days.
The oath of office for each newly elected Tribal Council Member shall be administered by the Election Board within thirty (30) days after the Election Board declares the winner of a seat, unless a challenge is filed and in that case within thirty (30) days after a final decision by the Tribal Court or Court of Appeals. If a challenge is filed but it does not relate to all of the elected seats, the oath of office shall be administered to the newly elected Tribal Council Members whose seats have not been challenged within thirty (30) days after the Election Board declares the winners. Each incumbent Tribal Council Member shall remain in office until the oath of office is administered to the newly elected Tribal Council Member for his or her seat. Upon expiration of the incumbent’s term of office, he or she shall transfer all tribal records within his or her control to the newly elected Tribal Council Member.
Election Ordinance. The Tribal Council shall enact an election ordinance consistent with this constitution which covers all necessary procedures for all elections.