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Conducting Credible Tribal Elections



"I think all elected officials of a tribe should take this course, as well as their enrollment departments and elction boards. I would recommend our tribal attorney attend too. This information is sorely needed by our tribe!" - Former class participant



Tribal elections can be the most controversial events on Indian reservations. But they donít have to be, especially if tribal governments take every measure to ensure that their elections are free, open and conducted fairly. There are steps that election boards can take to facilitate a smooth process, increase voter confidence and set the stage for a successful transition period.

This class will guide you through the complexities of the election process and assist you in understanding the roles and responsibilities of every player. Youíll learn the difference between tribal and secretarial elections as well as when and why the Secretary of the Interior becomes involved in the election process. Our experienced instructor will guide you through what you need to know about election forms, ordinances and voter registration. Youíll also learn about the benefits and key features of automated election software systems. Challenges to election results, recall elections, conflicts of interest and other critical issues will also be explored.


T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Tribal Elections
  • Tribal vs. secretarial elections
  • Impact of elections
  • Delegation of authority
  • Constitutional principles
  • The election ordinance
  • Provisions of an election ordinance
  • Typical election problems
  • Elections and enrollment
  • Case studies — successful and unsuccessful elections, election fraud
Election Board
  • Selecting board members
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Authority of the board
  • Board decision appeals
  • Removal of board members
Voter Registration
  • Determining qualifications
  • Cut-off before elections
  • Off-reservation registration
  • Voter registration cards
  • Working with non-tribal registrars
Voting
  • By district
  • Publicizing results
  • Role of election officials
  • Absentee voting
  • Ballot security
  • The vote
  • Runoff election
  • Conducting referendum votes
Disputes
  • Challenges to count accuracy
  • Recounts
  • Challenges not related to count
  • Role of the tribal court
  • Role of the tribal council

Secretarial Elections

  • When to hold secretarial elections
  • Conducting secretarial elections
  • Election board duties
  • Election notices
  • Absentee voting
  • Polling place voting
  • Ballots
  • Certifying results
  • Approval vs. disapproval
Relevant Laws and Cases
  • Indian Civil Rights Act
  • P.L. 100-581 — IRA amendments
  • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians v. United
    States of America

  • Martinez v. Santa Clara Pueblo
Constitutional Principles
  • Delegation of authority
  • Implied powers
  • Reserved powers
  • Separation of powers

Election Ordinances

  • Authority
  • Purpose of ordinance
  • Conflicts with constitution
  • Approval of ordinance
  • Appeals
  • Sample ordinances

Election of Tribal Officials

  • Election dates
  • Sequencing events
  • Process for becoming a candidate:
    • Petitioning
    • Eligibility
    • Qualifications
  • Filling vacancies
  • Orderly transfer of power

Automation

  • Overview of modern elections technologies
  • Features and benefits of election software
  • Implementing a new system
  • Issues and challenges

*Topics subject to change.

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