Petition Submitted To Demand Legal Elections & To Nullify Illegal Elections

On the heels of their successful Appeal for a Stay of the Saturday, August 23, 2014 inaugural Oneida Judiciary Election which was supposed to have been included in the 2014 General Election, filed due to the illegal decision by the Election Board and Business Committee to exclude the Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services (SEOTS) polling site in Milwaukee, Frank Cornelius and Oneida Eye Publisher Leah Sue Dodge submitted a General Tribal Council petition sponsored by themselves, Mike Debraska and Bradley Graham to the Oneida Tribal Secretary’s office on Thursday, August 28, 2014 with 68 signatures of Oneida Tribal members.

The purpose of the Petition is:

For a GTC Meeting to be held in a timely manner on a Saturday or Sunday starting no later than 1 p.m. to allow for greater membership participation, and that GTC vote whether:

(1) all Tribal elections include the SEOTS polling site, including the inaugural Judiciary Election as was GTC’s intent by voting to include the Judiciary in the 2014 General Election;

(2) to nullify any Judiciary Election that excludes the SEOTS polling site that may have occurred before the requested meeting is held;

(3) a new Judiciary Caucus be held & that due notice be made in Kalihwisaks & prominent places 10 days prior to that Caucus and the inaugural Judiciary Election;

(4) to address other Tribal election issues.

It must be noted that the last page of the Oneida Tribal Election Law states in Section D. Initiation of Special Elections

2.12-12. All Special Elections shall follow rules established for all other elections. This includes positions for all Boards, Committees and Commissions.

On October 27, 2013, a petition by Trust/Enrollment Committee Chair Carole Liggins to eliminate the SEOTS polling site (which was signed by three members of the Election Board) was presented to and rejected by GTC.

Instead, GTC overwhelmingly voted to affirm the motion made by Madelyn Genskow as stated in the GTC Special Meeting Action Report:

Motion by Madelyn Genskow to allow the voting process in Milwaukee to continue, seconded by Mike Debraska. Motion approved by a show of hands.

Therefore, in accordance with Oneida Tribal Election Law, the SEOTS polling site in Milwaukee should be included in all elections, and it was a violation of a GTC Directive for the Election Board and the Business Committee to have not included the SEOTS polling site in the Special Election for the Judiciary.

In fact, nowhere in the Election Law does it state that the Election Board has the right to propose – nor does the Business Committee have the right to approve – excluding the SEOTS polling site in Milwaukee from any Tribal election.

Indeed, it was the responsibility of Chief Counsel Jo Anne House to inform the Election Board and the BC that the Election Law does not grant them the ability to abridge nor violate GTC’s voting rights.

Yet, the Chief Counsel apparently failed to provide sound legal counsel to the BC and/or failed to act as a competent attorney on behalf of the rights of GTC. This is why the Oneida Law Office is named as a Respondent in the Briefs filed for a Stay of the Judiciary Election, and is yet another reason why the Petitioners believe that GTC should be able to hire its own attorney as guaranteed by the Oneida Constitution.

The Petitioners’ hope is that the BC will voluntarily agree to hold both a properly noticed new Caucus and a properly noticed new Judiciary Election at a time and date that is convenient for the majority of Tribe members and includes the SEOTS polling site as required by law.

This is especially true given that the Judiciary Election is for eight (8) full time judge positions, some of which are for six-year terms and will impact the lives of all Tribe members.

It is the belief of the Petitioners that GTC should vote to decide on which dates all caucuses, primaries and elections should be held, just as GTC did for the 2014 General Election which the Judiciary was supposed to be included in.


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