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Tribal judge from Bemijdi hears White Earth primary election complaints

An Election Contest public hearing was held today at the Shooting Star Casino Event Center in Mahnomen.

Seven candidates filed a Written Notice of Contest protesting the White Earth primary election held on April 1.

(In all, there were seven candidates for chairperson and 12 candidates for the District 3 Tribal Council seat on the primary election ballot).

The Honorable Margaret Treuer of Bemidji presided over the hearing, which was open to the public.

The candidates raised allegations over election irregularities ranging from the White Earth Reservation Election Board not verifying the identities of some voters, to non-White Earth members being provided with absentee ballots, both in person and through the mail.

The Election Board provided responses to each of the issues, and feels the challenges raised by the contesters are no more than mere speculation.

White Earth Chairwoman Erma Vizenor won re-election by gathering more than 66 percent of the votes in the primary election.

Incumbent District III Representative Kenneth "Gus" Bevins received 41 percent of the vote and Ralph "Bucky" Goodman received 16 percent of the vote.

Bevins and Goodman will square off in the White Earth general election on Tuesday, June 10.

Candidates receiving more than 50 percent of the votes are automatically re-elected and do not have to proceed to the general election.

Treuer will rule on the contester's challenges by Friday, April 18.