Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mohegan Election Law To Be Challenged In Tribal Court

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A complaint was filed earlier this week by tribal member Ken Davison in the Mohegan Tribal Court which challenges the requirement that tribal members must vote for all elective positions in tribal elections.

Last week, the Election Committee ruled that it lacks the authority to rule on the constitutionality of the Election Code and advised Davison that he has 7 working days to appeal the decision to the Tribal Court.

Davison voted for three candidates in the recent Council of Elders election and his ballot was deemed not valid because he did not vote for all four elective positions in that August 31 election. Davison wants the three votes on his ballot to be added to the candidate vote totals before the new members elected to the Council of Elders are seated in October.

At issue is the wording of the Mohegan Constitution, which states that tribal members "shall be entitled to cast one vote for each elective position" in an election while the Election Code says that tribal members must vote for each elective position.

According to Davison's complaint, "I cannot imagine that the Constitution's intent is to force tribal members to vote for candidates that a voter doesn't want to vote for but the Ellection Code (ordinance) mandates just that in its current form."

Just before filing his complaint with the Tribal Court on Monday, the Council of Elders acting as the Tribe's Supreme Court told Davison that they would not hear the case as it should first be heard in a lower court.

A date has not yet been set for the case to be heard in Tribal Court.