Aaron Payment, chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe
Published July 2, 2016
SAULT STE. MARIE, MICHIGAN — A directive by the U.S. Post Office postmaster in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to bring a locked election box containing ballots to the post office at 4:30 p.m., rather than 5:00 p.m., has put the June 23 tribal election certification process on hold for the time being.
Tribal citizen Isaac McKechnie is contesting the election of the June 23 tribal election of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, based in Sault Ste. Marie.
This contest involves reelection of Tribal Chairperson Aaron Payment, who was believed to have been reelcted to another four-year term and several tribal council positions.
According to the Election Committee, the ballot box was retrieved a half hour early at the direction of the Sault Ste. Marie US Post Office Postmaster. The Election Committee has already ruled against McKechnie, who now has until Thursday, July 7, to challenge the adverse decision in the Sault Ste. Marie Tribal Court of Appeals.
McKechnie’s contest was made under a tribal law that allows just such a challenge. McKechnie also alleges that the Election Committee’s actions warrant an investigation by the federal government.
Due to the filing of the contest, the Election Committee is prohibited by tribal law from immediately certifying the election and installing the winners as is normally done. If McKechnie does not appeal the adverse decision by next Thursday, the Election Committee will ask the Board of Directors to convene next Thursday evening to certify the election and install the winners.
If McKechnie appeals the decision, the certification and installation of the election will be postponed until the appeal is concluded, approximately one to three weeks.
The current elected tribal officials will retain their current positions pending the outcome of McKechnie’s contest of the election.