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Judge rules in favor of White Earth Election Board

WHITE EARTH - The Honorable Margaret Treuer, of Bemidji, issued her decision today (Friday) in regards to the Election Contest Public Hearing that was held Monday, April 14 at the Shooting Star Casino Event Center in Mahnomen.

"The contesters...have failed to show sufficient irregularities to prevail here. (The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) Election Ordinance No. 10 requires that contesters actually prove a sufficient number of election irregularities to affect the outcome of the election. Given that the top candidates were certified to have won by such large margins makes it nearly impossible to meet this burden.... Wherefore it is hereby ordered that the request for an order requiring a new primary election is denied."

"This reaffirms the integrity of the White Earth Reservation Election Board," said Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor. "The contesters had a fair, public forum to address their allegations and now it's time to move on. The decision of Judge Treuer proves that the White Earth Nation runs fair elections."

Seven candidates filed a Written Notice of Contest protesting the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, primary election held on April 1. The candidates raised challenges 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.

White Earth Chairwoman 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 votes and Ralph "Bucky" Goodman received 16 percent of the votes. 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.