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Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Law and Order Code

Updated: 2005


Section 1. Authority

This Election Ordinance is hereby enacted by the Pawnee Business Council under authority delegated by Article IV, Section 4(a), of the Constitution of the Pawnee Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.

Section 2. Purpose

The intent of the Election Ordinance is to establish procedures for fair elections and to insure the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot. The regulations and procedures contained in this Ordinance shall be administered by an Election Board to accomplish this purpose, provided:

A. That no more informality in the execution of the following provisions of this Ordinance shall invalidate any election; and,

B. That substantial compliance shall be recognized as adequate.

Section 3. Definitions

Business Council - The Pawnee Business Council, the elected governing body of the Pawnee Indian Tribe of Oklahoma established by Article IV, of the Tribal Constitution.

Constitution - The Constitution and By-laws of the Pawnee Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.

Dates of Events - In determining the date of any event pertaining to elections which date is fixed by this ordinance as occurring a certain number of days before, or after an election, neither the day of Election nor the day of the event shall be counted.

Election Board - The general Election Board shall be established by the Pawnee Business Council.

Election Notice - The official notice that an election will be held on a specific date issued by the Pawnee Business Council at least sixty (60) days before election of the Pawnee Business Council and at least thirty (30) days before elections on issues as provided in Article V, Section 2(b) of the Tribal Constitution. The notice shall consist of posting of information concerning date; time and place of the election at the Pawnee Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Pawnee Chief and the Tribal Newsletter, shall be furnished a copy of the notice for carrying as a public service announcement.

Section 4. Election Officials

The Pawnee Business Council shall appoint an Election Board. The Board shall have overall responsibility for the conduct of all elections and its' duties will include, but not be limited to, the following:

A. Election Board: The Election Board shall consist of Chairman, Clerk, Teller and Sergeant-at-Arms, with the Chairman as judge at all meetings. On election day a Bureau of Indian Affairs official(s) may act as observer at the polls.

B. Publication of Election Notice: At least sixty (60) days before the date of any election of members of the Business Council or at least thirty (30) days before the date of any election on issues, a public notice of the calling of the election shall be made by the Business Council and notices shall be posted at the offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pawnee Agency. The Pawnee Chief and the Tribal Newsletter shall be furnished a copy of the notice for carrying as a public service announcement.

C. Elections Supplies: The Election Board shall arrange for all election supplies, including the printing of ballots, and for the printing or other reproduction of tally lists, lists of electors, and shall arrange for the delivery of the same to the polling place before the opening of the polls.

D. Rulings of Eligibility of Candidates: The Election Board shall have the authority to rule upon the eligibility of the candidates, and disputes of the candidates qualifications shall be referred to the Pawnee Tribal Election Board for a final decision.

Section 5. Voter Qualifications

A. Resident Voters: Any member of the Pawnee Tribe who is eighteen (18) years of age or over on the date of the election and officially enrolled as a member of the Pawnee Tribe, as of the last official annuity roll.

B. Absentee Voters: Any member of the Pawnee Tribe who is eighteen (18) years of age or over on the date of the election and officially enrolled as a member of the Pawnee Tribe, as of the last official annuity roll, and who expects to be absent from the polling place on the day of election.

Section 6. Ballots

A. Form of the Ballot: The ballots shall be printed with a stub so perforated that the ballot will be easily detached therefrom. Upon the stub shall be printed these words, "If a voter is challenged the Clerk shall write "Challenged" in this space ____________," leaving sufficient space for the word. Then shall follow these words, "If for any reason the ballot is spoiled or not voted, the Clerk shall write "Spoiled" in this space _________," leaving sufficient space for the word. At the upper right hand corner of the stub of each ballot, and at the adjacent corner of the ballot, shall be printed or stamped, by a consecutive number, the number of said stub and ballot.

The stub shall bear the same number as the ballot and such numbering shall begin with number "1" in the polling place and continued in consecutive order until each ballot on which said number appears shall be so perforated that it will be easily detached. All ballots for general elections shall be upon white paper of such thickness as will render it impossible to look at the back of the ballot and tell for whom it is voted. Sample ballots shall be upon thin, cheap paper.

B. Number of Ballots: Ballots shall be supplied by the Election Board to the polling place in sufficient quantity to assure each voter whose name appears in the "Register of Electors" may receive a ballot.

C. Delivery and Receipt of Ballots: The Chairman of the Election Board shall cause to be delivered to the polling place the printed blank ballots and other election materials including ballot box, with a lock, and fitted with one opening, and no more, of sufficient size to admit a single folded ballot. The key to the lock shall be given to the Chairman of the polling place. The clerk of the polling place shall count all ballots delivered to him and shall be responsible for an account of all ballots and other election materials until delivered to the Chairman of the Election Board as provided in Section 11 of this Ordinance.

Section 7. Voting List

Preparation and Posting List of Registered Voters: Election Board shall prepare a list of all voters entitled to vote as shown by the official records. On the day of election, the Clerk of the Election Board shall post such a list at the polling place.

Section 8. Absentee Voting

Absentee Ballots shall be issued for all elections.

A. Basis for providing Absentee Ballots: Whenever a qualified voter expects to be, on the date of the election, absent for any reason, from the vicinity of his polling place, he shall request an absentee ballot for the given election in the manner provided in sub-section B below.

B. Manner of requesting and issuing Absentee Ballots: All requests for absentee ballots should be received by the Election Board, P.O. Box 470, Pawnee, Oklahoma 74058, not less than fourteen (14) days before election day so as to allow sufficient time for ballots to be supplied and returned by the election date. Any ballots received after 12:00 noon on the day of the election shall not be counted. Each application for an absentee ballot shall be made individually in writing by the voter who is to cast the ballot. Upon receipt of a valid request, the Election Board shall forward to the voter all necessary forms, ballots, and instructions to be used in the pending election.

The Election Board Clerk shall maintain a file of all applications received with the date of receipt stamped thereon. Further, the file shall show the names and addresses of all persons to whom absentee ballots are mailed including the date of mailing. Each such ballot shall be marked with the words "Absentee Ballot" and bear the date of issuance.

In conjunction with issuing an absentee ballot, the Election Board shall immediately mark his records accordingly, so that the individual shall not be permitted to vote at the polling place for the stated election.

C. Execution and Return of Ballots and Certification: The voter shall in the presence of two witnesses of adult age, and of no other person, mark such ballot, but in such a manner that such witnesses cannot know how the ballot was marked, tear off the numbered stub, and handle as indicated below:

(1) The ballot shall then in the presence of such witnesses be folded so as to conceal the marking and, in the presence of such witness, be placed in the envelope marked "Absentee Ballot" and the voter will seal the envelope.

(2) The voter shall then execute and subscribe the following certification before such witnesses: (Voter Certification)

I, __________, hereby certify that I am a member of the Pawnee Indian Tribe of Oklahoma; that I will be at least eighteen (18) years of age on the election date and am entitled to vote in the election to be held on _________________, and that I cannot appear at the polling place.

I further certify that I marked the enclosed ballot in secret.

Signed: __________________________

Subscribed and certified before us this _____ day of 19__; and we hereby certify that we are of adult age, that the voter exhibited the ballot to us unmarked: that he then, in our presence and in presence of another person, and in such a manner that we could not see his vote, marked such ballot and enclosed and sealed the same in the envelope marked "Absentee Ballot".


(3) The certification and the sealed envelope marked "Absentee Ballot" are then placed in the outer envelope for mailing.

(4) The pre-addressed outer envelope shall be directed to the Pawnee Tribal Reserve, PO Box 470, Pawnee, OK 74058.


D. Receipt of Absentee Ballots: Absentee Ballots shall be received until 12:00 noon on the day of the election. Absentee Ballots received after 12:00 noon on the day of the election shall not be counted. The absentee ballots shall remain in a locked box at the Pawnee Tribal Reserve Office until 1:00 p.m. on the day of the election, at which time a representative of the Election Board shall personally transport same to the canvas site where it shall be delivered immediately, still locked, to the members of the Election Board.


Section 9. Duties of Poll Officials and Voters

The duties of the Chairman, Clerk and Teller in the conduct of the balloting shall be as follows:

The Chairman shall be the judge of the polling place election officials. He shall be responsible for all arrangements, including availability of ballots and other election materials necessary to conduct balloting at the designated polling place. He shall also provide sufficient private booths or other places for the voters to mark their ballots in secrecy.

The polling place election officials shall be present at the designated polling place on election day in time to permit voting to begin when the polls open and shall remain until the polls close, all ballots have been counted, the tally properly recorded and reported and the ballots turned over for delivery as provided in this ordinance.

Before the balloting begins, the Chairman, Clerk and Teller shall open and inspect the ballot box to determine that it is empty. The ballot box shall then be locked and shall remain locked until time to count the ballots.

After opening the polling place, each voter upon presenting himself to vote, shall announce to the officials his name and his mark witnessed by two election officials. Each voter must sign the poll book before he may receive a ballot. The polling officials will then determine if the voter's name appears on the official "register of Electors". Upon determination of the voter's eligibility, the polling officials shall issue a ballot or ballots to the voter.

Upon receipt of a ballot or ballots, the voter shall retire to one of the private voting booths or other designated place and therein mark his ballot or ballots in secrecy. Only one person shall occupy a voting booth at one time except as provided elsewhere in this section. The elector must mark and deposit his ballot before leaving the polling place. The elector shall mark his ballot with either an "X" or check mark using the instrument provided by the election officials. Either mark, to be valid, must be identifiable with the appropriate square or place on the ballot for which it is intended.

After the ballot or ballots are so marked, the voter shall tear off the stub(s) and shall fold the ballot or ballots so that the printed sides are completely concealed and deposit the folded ballot or ballots in the ballot box. All stubs shall be deposited in a box provided for that purpose.

When any voter presents himself for a ballot and states that he, because of physical disability or infirmity, is unable to mark his ballot, one of the election officials shall cause such voter to be sworn after the following:

"Do you solemnly swear (or affirm) that you are unable to mark your ballot for voting because of a physical disability or infirmity?"

Should the voter so qualify himself, it shall be the duty of two polling place officials to give the voter such assistance as he needs, but in all such instances, the voter must state without suggestions from such officials, the way he wishes to vote, and in no instance shall an election official by word, action or expression, attempt to influence the voter as to how he should vote. Such assistance shall be given in privacy and all persons other than the election officials shall be kept sufficiently distant so that they will not hear or know how such informed voter voted.

All elections shall be held on the first (1st) Saturday in May, every two (2) years, and polls shall be open between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Any person waiting in line to vote at closing time will be permitted to vote, but those presenting themselves after the hour for closing of the polls will not be permitted to vote.

Section 10. Handling Special Circumstances

A. Soiled Ballot: Should any elector spoil his ballot, in his effort to vote, he shall fold and return it in the presence of the election officials, deposit the spoiled ballot in a special "spoiled ballot" box. The election officials of the election shall then provide such elector with another ballot in the same manner that the first one was provided. The election officials shall write on the proper blank line on the stub of the spoiled ballot the word "Spoiled". He shall not write the name of the elector upon the stub of the spoiled ballot. He shall not write the name of the elector upon the stub of the duplicate ballot, but shall write instead the words "Duplicate of Spoiled Ballot", giving the number of the original or spoiled ballot.

B. Alternates for Polling Officials: Should an election official of the polling place become ill or have an unforeseen emergency arise, the Chairman of the Election Board shall be notified immediately so that an alternate may be prepared to assume the responsibilities of the vacated position.

C. Electioneering and Loitering: No person shall be allowed to electioneer within one hundred (100) feet of the building where and when the election is in progress. Neither will any loitering be permitted in the polling place during voting hours. It shall be the duty of the Sergeant-at-Arms at the polling place to obtain such assistance as may be required to member by a majority vote, from the tied candidates.

Section 11. Canvas of Election Results

The Chairman, Clerk and Teller shall count and record the votes as soon as the polls close and immediately notify the Chairman of the Pawnee Business Council of the results. All marked, unmarked and Absentee Ballots will be turned over to the Chairman of the Election Board within eighteen (18) hours of the closing of the polls: the election Chairman will issue a signed receipt for the ballots and have the ballots locked in the Pawnee Tribal Reserve Office or other Tribal depository for two (2) years before being destroyed, where they shall be available for inspection under the supervision of the Pawnee Business Council.

A. Poll Watchers: Each candidate for a position on the Pawnee Business Council is entitled to choose one person to observe on his behalf, the counting of ballots. In elections to vote on issues, the Election Board may designate two (2) watchers for the polling place to observe the counting of the ballots; one to represent each side of the question under consideration. No watcher shall in any way interfere or hinder the election officials in exercising their responsibility.

B. Counting the Ballots at the Polling Place: Immediately after closing the polls, the election officials shall count the votes cast, in the following manner: The Chairman, in the presence of the Teller and the Clerk and any watchers shall unlock the locked box containing executed ballots. As the ballots are opened, the Chairman shall verbally announce the choice or choices indicated on the ballot. The Clerk and Teller shall separately record such information on tally sheets provided for such purposes. The winning candidates for the Pawnee Business Council shall be determined by popular vote with the eight (8) candidates receiving the highest number of votes elected to the eight (8) positions on the Pawnee Business Council. Upon completion of the tally, the Chairman shall execute a certification of the voting results and post a copy of such notice. If the number of votes cast in the ballot box is found to exceed the number of names on the voter registration list, that fact shall be noted on tally sheets by the Clerk.

C. Preparation for Counting Absentee Ballots: After the receipt of the absentee ballots, as provided in Section 8-C, the Election Board Clerk and at least one polling official shall count the ballots. Each outer envelope shall be opened, but the inner envelope shall remain unopened at that point. The Clerk shall then determine whether the person whose name is signed to the certification is a duly registered voter and check said voter against the absentee voting list. The sealed inner envelope shall then be dropped into the official ballot box and remain there until the actual count of all absentee ballots is started. Any ballots not properly submitted in accordance with the instructions in Section 8 for absentee balloting will not be counted, but shall be noted.

D. Counting Absentee Ballots: When everything is in readiness the chairman of the Election Board shall open the absentee ballot box, after which the count shall be made in the manner set forth in Section 11-B.

E. Announcing Results of Election: Immediately upon completion of the count, the Chairman of the Election Board, shall convey to the Pawnee Business Council Chairman and the Superintendent of the Pawnee Agency, the results of the voting.

F. Return of Election Materials: The marked ballots, all unused ballots, the tally sheets, and the original of the certificate of results shall be placed in the ballot box. The boxes shall be locked and delivered by the Clerk and Teller of the Election Board to the Pawnee County Sheriff's Office, with the Chairman of the Election Board retaining the keys. On the next business day following the Election, the Clerk and Teller of the Election Board shall deliver the keys to the Pawnee Tribal Reserve Office or Tribal Depository.

G. Improperly Marked Ballots: Should a portion or a ballot be marked, it shall not exclude from the tally, that part which is correctly executed. Any ballot on which the intent of the voter cannot be determined, that ballot shall be preserved and filed with the other ballots for safekeeping with the notation placed on the face of the ballot indication it was not counted.

Section 12. Contests of Election Results

A. Requests for Recounts: Any qualified voter of the tribe may at any time before 12:00 noon on the Wednesday immediately following the Saturday election, file with the Chairman of the Election Board a challenge of the correctness of the announced results of the tribal election and request a recount of the ballots. The request shall specify the candidate or position on behalf of which the request is being filed.

The request for a recount must be in writing with reason given, signed and must be accompanied by a $100.00 (Cash, Certified Check, etc.) recount fee. If the requester is successful in the recount, i.e., the candidate or position on behalf of which the request was filed is determined the winner at the end of the recount, he shall have returned to him any amount above actual costs involved in the recount. If the recount is unsuccessful in regard to the requester, i.e., the candidate or position on behalf of which the request was filed is not determined the winner at the end of the recount, the requester forfeits the full recount fee.

Upon receipt of the request for recount and the recount fee, the Election Board shall proceed to conduct a recount of the votes in the challenged contest. No challenge shall be considered that is not made within the time provided for that purpose. Poll watchers are allowed to be present at all recount occasions.

B. Protests Not Involving Recounts: Any qualified voter of the Pawnee Tribe may at any time before 12:00 noon on the Monday immediately following the Saturday election, file with the Chairman of the Election Board a protest or challenge concerning any aspect of the election. Such protest or challenge must be made in writing and signed by the protester. The chairman of the Election Board will respond in writing to such proper protest or challenges not later than 12:00 noon on the first Wednesday following the closing of the protest period. All decisions made by the Election Board on protests shall be final.

Section 13. Types of Elections

A. Election of Business Council Members:

(1) Election Date: Elections shall be conducted on the first Saturday in May and every second odd numbered year. (Article IV, Section 4, Constitution and By-Laws of the Pawnee Indians of Oklahoma).

(2) Term of Office shall be for a period of two (2) years and until a successor is duly elected and installed. Each member of the Pawnee Business Council shall be eligible to serve unlimited terms by re-election.

(3) Eligibility: All members of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma have reached the age of twenty-five (25) years shall be eligible to serve as members of the Pawnee Business Council, except those persons previously convicted in a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or those persons receiving a dishonorable discharge from military service. Any member of the Tribe, filing for office, will be ineligible if they are indebted to the tribe for any amount. (Note: In the event the debt is paid, that member will be eligible to file.)

(4) Filing for Office: A qualified person seeking election as a member of the Pawnee Business Council, must personally file written notice, accompanied by waiver and a filing fee of $50.00, which shall be filed with the Pawnee Election Board. Filing fees shall be used for election expenses.

(5) Testing Eligibility of Candidate: The Pawnee Tribal Election Board shall promptly revise all filings for membership to the Pawnee Business Council, whether challenged or not, to test the eligibility of each person to be a candidate, If the Election Board determines that a persona is not eligible to be a candidate, the Election Board shall notify such person that his candidacy is being challenged, giving the reasons for the challenge, and that unless satisfactory proof of eligibility is furnished within two (2) days after notification, he shall be declared ineligible to be a candidate. The decision on eligibility made by the Pawnee Election Board shall be final.

(6) Challenge of Candidates: Any qualified voter may challenge the eligibility of any person to be a candidate by filing with the Pawnee Tribal Election Board, a written statement setting forth the grounds for the challenge. The challenge must be filed within five (5) days of the posting of the list of candidates. The Pawnee Tribal Election Board shall promptly notify the would-be candidates in writing stating the basis for the challenge and shall request that person to furnish satisfactory proof that he is eligible to be a candidate for the position he seeks. The Pawnee Tribal Election Board shall rule on each challenge and notify such person in writing of the reasons for its' decision. Notification shall be given by certified mail, return receipt requested. All decisions on challenges and eligibility of candidates made by the Pawnee Tribal Election Board shall be final. There shall be no refund of filing fees

(7) Appeal to Tribal Court: Any person who is aggrieved by order of the Election Board on whether eligible, may appeal that decision to the Pawnee Division of the Sac & Fox Tribal Court who shall determine the matter expediently before all other matters on its' docket excepting criminal cases. On such appeal cases, the court shall use expedient proceedings in order to expedite the determination of the cases prior to the date established for receipt of request for Absentee Ballots.

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