Teresa McCoy, a candidate for Principal Chief in the 2019 election, filed a protest with the EBCI Board of Elections (BOE) on Wednesday, Sept. 11. The protest, which met the legal timeline for submission of a protest, specifically named BOE Chairperson Denise Ballard and BOE member Shirley Reagan.
The protest hearing was held on Monday, Sept. 23 in the BOE Office located in the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex. This hearing was not open to the press nor the public. The One Feather has requested a copy of the official transcripts from this hearing but has not received them by press time.
According to McCoy’s protest, she writes, “I have information and evidence that BOE Member Shirley Reagan and Chair Denise Ballard, and the Board as a whole, because they were aware, have violated the integrity and spirit of our elections, and have violated CC (Cherokee Code) Sec. 161-17(c), 161-19(a)(g). This unethical conduct is recorded in the BOE Meeting minutes from March of 2019, thru the actual election on September 5th. I will state that had it not been for the conduct and actions of the BOE and others, the outcome of the election would have been different.”
Cherokee Code Sec. 161-17(c) states, “No Election Board member shall be a candidate for any tribal office or actively support any candidate for tribal office during the term for which the member is appointed to the Board. For purposes of this section, ‘actively support’ means contributing money to, campaigning for, or openly declaring support for any candidate’.”
Cherokee Code Sec. 161-19(a) speaks to the power of BOE and (g) states, “The Board shall investigate irregularities and nonperformance of duty and violation of tribal election rules and regulations by election officials or other persons.”
The BOE had not rendered a decision on the protest by press time on Monday, Sept. 30.
– One Feather staff report