Band Electoral Officer Forced To Count Votes Early

Friday, February 13, 2009 at 15:20



The chief electoral officer for the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation’s recent election says intimidation played a part in how the vote was carried out.


Galen Tracy says an unruly crowd formed during a vote Monday at the First Nation’s polling station, prompting him to count all the mail-in ballots ahead of schedule.


Tracy says he hadn’t planned to count the mail-in ballots until tomorrow.


However, he says a handful of men angrily told him and his scrutineers to count them right then and there.


Tracy says the RCMP were eventually called in, but he decided to count the ballots anyway for fear of someone getting hurt.


He also notes he was forced to swear in two new deputy returning officers on the spot.


According to Tracy, only 108 mail-in ballots, out of a possible 361 ballots, were actually tallied.


Despite the sudden change in plans, he says the results of the vote are legitimate unless overturned by an appeals tribunal.


Officials with Indian Affairs say they are not getting involved with the vote as it is covered under the band custom election act.


Neither the new chief, Clifford Tawpisin, Jr., nor former chief Gilbert Ledoux have been available for comment.