AKWESASNE - The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe will hold its annual caucus on Saturday and is looking for eligible voters to nominate candidates for a chief, sub-chief and tribal clerk. Candidates must also be eligible voters.
The caucus will be held at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the tribal community building on state Route 37 in Akwesasne. It is closed to non-Tribe members.
The terms of Chief Mark H. Garrow and Sub Chief Stacy Skidders expire this year. Other members of the tribal council are chiefs Randy Hart and Ron Lafrance Jr. and subchiefs Shelley Jacobs and Shelley Jacobs.
To be considered an eligible voter, one must be at least 18 years old, an enrolled member of the tribe and reside in the U.S. or the U.S. portion of Akwesasne for at least six months prior to the election. The voters name must also appear on an eligible voters list.
Nominations can only be made at the caucus. There is no limit to how many candidates can get a nod.
To actually make it onto the ballot in June, a candidate must pass a drug test and a criminal background check. Candidates have three business days after the caucus to take a drug test. If they do not take the test, they will be automatically disqualified.
The tribal Board of Elections will release the unofficial list of nominees a week after the caucus, with the official list of candidates who passes the drug and background check a week after that.
The tribal election regulation states that if a candidate has a criminal record as a result of acts of civil disobedience they will not be disqualified.
The ordinance also says that during the actual election in June each candidate can appoint one observer to oversee the election process.
Katrina Jacobs of the tribal Board of Elections said she is not sure why the provision is there.
That was always the practice at least since I started on the board about six years ago, Ms. Jacobs said. We dont mind it. We get observers who say, That was the longest say of my life. Im never doing that again.
The complete Tribal election ordinance, which includes their rules for elections, caucuses, and referendums can be viewed at http://www.srmt-nsn.gov/_uploads/site_files/SRMTElectionReferendumOrdinance2009.pdf.