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Tribal Elections Code of Law Part 3: Caucus and Nominating

The following article is part 3 of a 5-part series of articles breaking down the Election Code of Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Law. This series will be reprinted from the Election Code, which will explain the Tribe’s election process as Saturday, April 1, is the nominating caucus setting the stage for which candidates will run for the four open seats on the Tribal Governing Board.


The five parts are as follows: Part 1 Election Committee, Part 2 Election Process, Part 3 Caucus and Nominating, Part 4 Primary and General Election, Part 5 Other Election Processes.


The Election Code is not printed in its entirety, only relevant parts to explain the actual process.


Subchapter ELE.1.5 Elections


ELE.1.5.010 Caucus


(a) The Caucus shall be held on the date specified in ELE.1.4.010(k). At the Caucus, the Tribal Governing Board shall receive nominations of eligible members of the Tribe for vacancies on the Tribal Governing Board and General Election which shall be held on the date specified in ELE.1.4.010(k). Also, at the Caucus, the nomination and election of the Election Committee and Election Observers shall take place.


(b) Upon arrival to the location designated by the Tribal Governing Board to hold the Election Caucus, tribal members shall sign the check-in sheet verifying the enrollment status and eligibility to participate in the caucus.


(c) Meeting Order of Business and Procedures.


(1) Chairman calls the meeting to order and roll call.


(2) Nominations for Tribal Governing Board.


(A) Floor opened for nominations of eligible members of the Tribe for election by tribal members who are eighteen (18) years of age or older.


(i) Present name of nominator.


(ii) Nominator names nominee.


(B) Chairman calls three (3) times for any additional nominees before floor is closed for additional nominations.


(C) Names of nominees are placed in a "hat" and drawn out for numeral order on the voting ballot. If a nominee withdraws, then the remainder of nominees shall move up in that order.


(3) Election of Election Committee.


(A) For the Caucus held in 2023, four (4) Election Committee Members shall be elected to serve a four (4) year term and three (3) Committee Members shall serve a one-time two-year term, with the four highest vote getters serving the four (4) year term and the other candidate serving two-year term. The highest four vote getters will receive the four-year terms, with the remaining candidates receiving the two-year term. Thereafter, all Election Committee Members shall serve four-year terms. Consequently, beginning in 2025, election of the Election Committee Members shall occur every two years, the number of which shall coincide with the number of outgoing Election Committee members.


(B) Floor opens for nominations to fill positions on the Election Committee.


(i) Present name of nominator.


(ii) Nominator names nominee.


(C) Chairman calls three (3) times for any additional nominees before floor is closed for additional nominations.


(D) Election Committee Members shall pass out ballots to all enrolled tribal members present who are eighteen (18) years of age or older.


(E) Only votes for the upcoming vacancies are allowed per ballot. If for any reason the ballot contains more votes per ballot, then such ballot shall be considered "spoiled" and cast out.


(F) The ballots shall be collected.


(G) The ballots shall be counted and cross referenced with the sign-in sheet to estimate numbers.


(i) Ballots shall be tallied and marked on display chart.


(ii) The top vote getters are seated on Election Committee for four-year terms, except as otherwise provided in ELE.1.5.010(c)(3)(A).


(H) Two (2) next highest vote getters are designated as alternates.


(4) Election of Observers. Election Committee Members shall pass out ballots to all enrolled tribal members present.


(A) The number of Observers for an election is the same number of offices to be filled in the election, i.e., three (3) or four (4). If for any reason the ballot contains more than three (3) or four (4) votes per ballot, the ballot shall be considered "spoiled" and cast out.


(B) The ballots shall be collected.


(C) The ballots shall be counted and cross referenced with the sign-in sheet to estimate numbers.


(i) Ballots shall be tallied and marked on display chart.


(ii) Three (3) or Four (4) top vote getters are seated as Election Observers.


(iii) Two (2) next highest vote getters are designated as alternates.


(5) Chairman adjourns the caucus.


ELE.1.5.020 Nominees Acceptance or Rejection


(a) All persons nominated as candidates for the election to the Tribal Governing Board at the time of the Caucus, whether or not personally present, shall notify the Election Committee, in writing, within three (3) working days of the day of Caucus, of their acceptance or rejection of their nomination to stand for election (Attachment "C") and verification that they have satisfied the prerequisites pursuant to ELE.1.5.030 (Attachment "I").


(b) Those that do not sign the "Acceptance Form" (Attachment "C") and complete the "Prerequisite Certification for Primary Ballot" (Attachment "I") within the allotted time shall automatically be removed as a candidate for election to the Tribal Governing Board.


ELE.1.5.030 Candidate Prerequisites Prior to Being Placed on the Primary Ballot


(a) Prior to a person's acceptance of their nomination to stand for election to the Tribal Governing Board, the following prerequisites as determined by the Election Committee shall be met prior to the candidate's "Prerequisite Certification for Primary Ballot" (Attachment "I") being completed:


(1) The prospective candidate shall be a member of the Tribe.


(2) The prospective candidate shall have attained the age of twenty-one (21) years on the date of election.


(3) The prospective candidate shall provide consent for the completion of a comprehensive background check within three (3) working days from the day of Caucus. If a comprehensive background check establishes that a prospective candidate has a record of a conviction of election fraud (or other similar classification substantially similar to election fraud) or a felony of any crime in any tribal, county, district, state, or federal court, the Election Committee shall establish that the prospective candidate thereby fails to pass the background check. A prospective candidate that fails to pass the background check shall be prohibited from being placed on the Primary Ballot, unless:


(A) The Election Committee shall provide the prospective candidate with an Election Background Waiver when the prospective candidate establishes that fifteen years or more has passed since the disposition and punishment (including sentencing and probation) of the felony or other serious offense charge as established in subs. (3), above, that has caused the prospective candidate to fail the background check. Any prospective candidate requesting an Election Background Waiver must complete an "Election Background Waiver Petition" which is attached and incorporated as Attachment "L" to this ordinance.


(b) Upon the Election Committee's review of the prerequisites established in subs. (a) above and receipt of the results of the comprehensive background check for each candidate, the Election Committee shall notify the LCO Human Resources Director of whether each candidate has satisfied or failed to meet the prerequisites established in subs. (a) above.


(c) The prospective candidate must contact the LCO Human Resources Department within five (5) working days from the close of the three (3) working day period allowed pursuant to ELE.1.5.020 to learn if they have satisfied or failed to meet the prerequisites established in subs. (a) above.


(c) Tribal Court Challenge to Decision on Meeting Prerequisites. Upon the Election Committee's determination that a prospective candidate has failed to meet the prerequisites established in subs. (a) above, the prospective candidate may file an appeal of the Election Committee's determination in Tribal Court by filing a typed or written statement setting forth the grounds for and evidence supporting the challenge(s) along with the established court filing fee. Any such challenge shall be filed no later than twenty-four (24) hours following the prospective candidate's notification of the Election Committee's determination from the LCO Human Resources Department. Upon receipt of the filing of the appeal of the Election Committee's determination, the Tribal Court shall provide for a hearing and render a decision within two working days of the appeal. The decision of the tribal court shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

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