A federal judge has ruled that a 2016 election on Key First Nation is null and void.

The controversial election came under fire after allegations of vote-buying, payoffs, promised jobs and even an alleged offer of a $400,000 contract.

Shorty after the election the matter was taken to court and after a lengthy battle Federal Court Justice R. L. Barnes released his decision to nullify the results late Wednesday afternooon.

In Barnes’s written decision he says “there is clear evidence of widespread and openly conducted vote-buying activity.”

He believes, according to the evidence, the integrity of the Key First Nation election of October 1st, 2016 was sufficiently corrupted.

“I would add that the corrupt practices employed by several of the Respondents during the 2016 Band election appear to reflect a long-standing tradition and acceptance by some members of vote buying and other dishonest attempts to influence electoral outcomes,” the judge’s decision read. “These practices appear to be sufficiently entrenched that, in the election to follow, rigorous efforts will be required to ensure the integrity of the process.”

An appeal of the original court application was filed this past August, but Justice Barnes dismissed this appeal and affirmed his decision to declare the band election “set aside and annulled.”

Key First Nation is about 270 kilometres northeast of Regina near the Manitoba border.

(With files from Manfred Joehnck)

(PHOTO: The Key First Nation band office.  Photo courtesy of sicc.sk.ca)