Tribal Board Election Ballots are being mailed this week. Why Members don’t trust the process.

June 4 2024.  Tribal Board Ballots are being mailed this week.  

This information was posted on Sault Tribe's official website.     "Attention all Sault Tribe Members.

The Election Commission is getting ready to mail out the General Election ballots by the June 6 deadline. First, we want to thank everyone who participated in the Primary Election. Primary tabulation night saw 7,375 ballots returned, which is a better turn out than the 2016 Primary and General Election, the 2020 Primary and General Election, the 2022 Primary and General Election and the 2023 Referendum Elections.

We understand that there were frustrations with delayed ballots and despite struggles with the United States Postal service (USPS), we still saw record voter return for the 2024 Primary. Unfortunately, the 2024 Primary Election was not without challenges and speculation. Notably there has been much speculation about whether the Election Commission sent out white ballots. White ballots were not used in the mailing of the 2024 Primary ballots. On tabulation night, six white ballots were received out of the 7,375 Primary ballots received. All six white ballots were confirmed to be copies and/or fraudulent ballots, and none of them had any of the security features that are used in our tribal election ballots. The Election Commission takes this very seriously and is gathering the data that it can to help law enforcement and the tribal prosecutor bring any and all necessary charges related to this election fraud. The Tribal Prosecutor has already been given notice of these fraudulent ballots and if evidence can implicate the individuals responsible they are ready to take immediate action. Anyone with any information regarding these fraudulent ballots please reach out to us at As part of the ongoing effort to protect the integrity of our elections, the Commission plans to audit any undeliverable ballots or late returned ballots from the Primary that are in the elections PO Box to determine if there are other white ballots. If so, these white ballots will be checked with our ballot security features to determine if they are fraudulent, and, if so, handed over to law enforcement for investigation and finger printing. If any person or persons is found to be responsible for this election fraud they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.In gearing up for the General Election mailer, the Commission has taken the following steps to help with the timely delivery of our ballots and protect the integrity of the election:An analysis has been run on the voter registration list and the tribe’s bad address list and was then cross compared to the USPS undeliverable list as supplied by the postal service. This data was used to compile a list of all known bad addresses. As a standard practice, Sault Tribe elections have not, in the past, mailed to known bad addresses. However, going forward, these known bad addresses that were or could be updated have been and any other remaining bad addresses will have the mail sent to them, even though the address is flagged as bad, in an attempt to remedy some of the USPS issues;the Commission has instructed the ballots to be mailed as soon as possible to combat the delay and issues caused by the USPS. This authorization is valid and allowed by Tribal Code Chapter 10 and will allow for more time for our members to receive their ballots. The ballots may go out a day or two early;On General Election tabulation night, any and all ballots that do not conform to the color coded ballots with all imprinted security measures (such as the fraudulent white ballots) will be handed over to law enforcement for analysis and referred to the prosecutor for prosecution.Our ballots are color coded by unit with a different color for each Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4, Unit 5, and the undeclared voters. An undeclared voter is listed in the Enrollment database as a voter living outside of the five election units and that has not declared a unit in which to vote. REMINDER: Unit 5 does not have a unit director race, but you will still receive a ballot with the option to vote for the chairman’s race. For security purposes the Election Commission will be using different colors for each designated unit for the General Election ballots. The colors are not disclosed before the mailing to protect against fraudulent ballots. Please be aware that there will be no official white ballots printed or sent. If you receive a white ballot, immediately bring your ballot to the Tribal Administration Building in Sault Ste. Marie so the Election Commission can verify its authenticity and work with the Tribal Prosecutor and Law Enforcement for action pursuant to Tribal Code Chapter 71.1103 Election Fraud. Please also verify that the ballot you are receiving is addressed from the Sault Tribe Election Commission. If the envelope or ballot is not addressed as from the Sault Tribe Election Commission, than it is not a legitimate official ballot. Likewise, if you do not receive your ballot please reach out to so the Commission can gather as much data as possible to help refine our elections process for future elections.Miigwech,Sault Tribe Elections".

Here is why tribal members don't trust the information provided: 

First and foremost the tribal members that claim they received and mailed in the White Ballots are members that many in the Sault Tribe trust.  As a result those that know those members that claim they received and submitted White Ballots are offended at the Election Committee's ruling on this matter.  Many feel they are being disrespected by the Election Committee which is why they are asking the Bureau of Indian Affairs to step in.   However, based on the letter we received by the BIA we believe they consider this an internal matter and will refer it back to the Tribal Court.  

And while some members are accusing the Election Board of mailing those ballots many are not.  They know there could be a number of weird but innocent reasons some tribal members were mailed White Ballots. 

Unfortunately in our view the Election Committee and their attorney are under so much pressure as a result of attacks by a few tribal members instead of being open to considering that these were the actual ballots mailed to tribal members the Election Committee choose instead to defend the election process and refused to consider what they have been told really happened.   

Ultimately we believe that to dismiss the complaint filed to contest the primary election including not counting those White Ballots before an investigation can be made was the wrong thing to do if the long-term goal is to unite as a tribe to work together to benefit all members.  

In our view the best outcome for both the tribe and those that ran for office but were not placed on the primary ballot is that they be willing find other ways to serve the tribe as an employee or volunteer.     


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