Saturday, April 4, 2009

Voting Rights Case Hearing In Mohegan Tribal Court On Moday 2 PM

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The hearing on the voting rights case of Kenneth Davison v. Mohegan Tribe Election Committee and other defendants will be held Monday, April 6, in the Mohegan Tribal Court. Tribal members are welcome to attend the hearing.

In that case Davison asserts, among other things, that requiring Tribal members to vote for all seats up for election is a violation of Tribal members' free speech rights and also violates the Constitution's voting clause which states that voters "shall be entitled to cast one vote for each elective position available."

Many Tribal members have said they feel they shouldn't be required to vote for all seats up for election. For instance, in an election in which four seats are up for election, those tribal members who want to vote for one, two or three candidates are required to vote for all four positions in order for their ballot to be counted. This case challenges that requirement.

In the past two election run-offs in 2007 and 2008, Davison voted for three candidates on each ballot. Both ballots were rejected because Davison did not vote for all four elective positions available in each run-off election. Davison filed the lawsuit last September. The judge has since denied the defendant's attempt to have the voting case dismissed.

The defendants in the lawsuit, the Mohegan Tribe Election Committee and the Mohegan Tribe, submitted a motion for summary judgment at the end of February and the plaintiff, Ken Davison, later filed an objection to their motion in addition to a motion seeking to strike evidence cited in the defendants' motion.

The April 6 hearing will focus on these submissions and if the judge decides in Davison's favor, then the case will next proceed to trial.