The Lac La Ronge Indian Band is presenting its members with a new Election Act, which Chief Tammy Cook-Searson says will clarify the election process.

One of the major changes is the creation of an Election Committee, comprised of First Nation members who will be tasked with overseeing the appointments of a Chief and Deputy Electoral Officers. The Committee will also hear appeals arising out of the election and during the election. Cook-Season says a current or former Saskatchewan First Nation Chief would handle the appeal. She says the Election Committee ensures that leadership is separated from the election.

“What the members want is a separation between the sitting Chief and Council and the election process. So, we created the Election Act Committee and removed Council from overseeing the elections,” Cook-Searson said.

Another step the First Nation is taking is moving eligibility requirements from within the regulations into the legislation. Last year, the First Nation was in court over regulations introduced prior to the previous election. Members contested the disqualification of a candidate if they owed the First Nation money. Cook-Searson says that regulation will remain. “The criteria will remain the same as currently drafted though. If approved this ensures eligibility requirements can’t be changed without the approval of the members,” Cook-Searson explained.

Polling station operation hours are also proposed to change. Currently the polling stations are open from 9 AM to 6PM. The change will see the hours be 9 AM to 8PM. According to the Lac La Ronge Indian Band website, members will have three months to review the changes. If no vote is requested, the Election Act will be approved and used in the 2020 Election. If a vote is requested, that will be held in May 2019, during Treaty Days.