Monday election will end voting for Osage Congress

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Voting in the 2016 Osage Nation Congressional election concludes June 6, when ballots will be cast from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center, 1449 W. Main.

Fifteen candidates filed for the offices in March and the six top vote recipients will win four-year terms on the unicameral tribal legislature.

The candidates (listed in the order their names appear on the ballot) are: Michael Bristow, Rebekah Horsechief, John Jech, Danette Daniels, John Maker, Shannon Edwards, Brandy Lemon, Archie Mason, R.J. Walker, Fi Davis, Myron Red Eagle, Jacque Jones, Maria Whitehorn, Joe Tillman and Hank Hainzinger.

Six of the 15 — Edwards, Jech, Maker, Mason, Walker and Whitehorn — are incumbents. The ON Congress is comprised of 12 members, with half of the seats up for election every two years.

Tribal members 18 years of age and older, with an Osage tribal membership card, will be eligible to vote in the election , officials said. Early voting is to be held on Friday, June 3, from noon to 8 p.m.. and on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Osage Nation Election Office at 608 Kihekah Ave.

Osage Nation voters also will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the following amendment to the Osage Constitution: ONCR 15-04. Shall Article IV, Section 3(G) of the Osage Nation Constitution be amended to replace the phrase “greater than imprisonment for a term of one year or a fine of five thousand dollars, or both;” with the phrase “greater than allowed by federal law;”?Purpose: The purpose of this amendment is to allow the Osage Nation to align our criminal penalties with those allowed under federal law. Federal law now allows tribal nations to increase criminal penalties on Indian defendants above those allowed by the Osage Nation Constitution. The amendment will allow the Nation to enhance criminal punishments for crimes committed within the Nation’s jurisdiction. Also, if enacted, the amendment allows the Nation to adopt the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Violence Against Women Act, both of which are vital to the expansion of the Nation’s jurisdiction and sovereignty.

On May 25, the ON Election Office reported that 628 absentee ballots had already been returned for the June 6 general election. Reports from the office indicated 1,900 requests for absentee ballots were received and processed by the office. The absentee ballots will be collected and kept at the Pawhuska Post Office until Election Day, when they are to be taken to Wah-Zha-Zhi Center.