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The Election Committee would like to remind all tribal members of the importance of adhering to Chapter 10 of the Tribal Code (the Tribal Election Ordinance). Please be advised, pursuant to Section 10.107, the election cycle does not commence until the last Friday in January in the year in which a general election occurs. The next election cycle commences Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Pursuant to Section 10.112 of the Election Ordinance, no campaigning shall take place prior to that date. “Campaigning” shall mean “all efforts designed to influence members to support or reject a particular candidate, including without limitation, advertising, rallying, public speaking, or other communications with members.”

Recently, the Election Committee received several election complaints, some of which were legitimate and others questionable. The Election Committee reminds all members who may be interested in running for office, supporting someone who may run for office, or campaigning against someone in office or who may run for office, not to publish or post to social media or other public sources any comments that may appear to be “campaigning” until after Jan. 28, 2022.

While the Election Committee appreciates the fact that there is “grey area” within the definition of “campaigning,” the committee requests that all members err on the side of caution and civility. For example, while publicly supporting certain political or philosophical views is certainly appropriate and encouraged; associating such views (or opposing views) with a potential candidate, while referencing the next election date, prior to the Notice of Election, starts to appear more like unlawful campaigning.

It is important for members to recognize the difference between “campaigning” and “freedom of expression” before filing a complaint with the Election Committee. While the Election Committee fully supports all members’ rights to free expression of their political and philosophical views, such rights have been curtailed by Chapter 10 of the Tribal Code when that speech becomes “campaigning.”

The entire Code can be found on the tribe’s website at saulttribe.com/government/tribal-code.

At the end of the day, we are all one tribe. The Election Committee requests that all members be open, tolerant and respectful of all other members’ political and philosophical views, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with such views, and, most importantly, refrain from “campaigning” until after Jan. 28, 2022.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY