Osages will be asked for the second time this year to vote in a Special Election to be held on August 13 on the Osage campus. The Special Election asks Osages to vote for or against four proposed Osage Constitutional amendment questions.
The questions pertain to the Osage Minerals Estate and its role in the 2006 reformed tribal government.
The amendment questions require a 65 percent “yes” vote to pass.
On Aug 13, the Special Election will be held at the Congressional Chambers on the Osage government campus in Pawhuska. The poll will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the election is open to all enrolled Osages with membership cards. Osages who are unable to vote in person may do so by absentee ballot.
Absentee ballot requests
Osage Nation Election Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre said voters who submitted an absentee ballot request form for the June 4 General Election will be mailed a ballot automatically so there is no need for those voters to resubmit an absentee ballot request (unless they have moved since).
The first batch of absentee ballots were mailed out June 29. The final deadline for absentee ballot requests for those who have yet to request one is July 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Those who haven’t received their absentee ballots within five to seven days of the ballot mailing are encouraged to contact the Election Office to check on its status or to be sent a duplicate ballot. Ballots must be received by 10 a.m. in the Pawhuska Post Office on Aug. 13 to be counted.
Osages may request an absentee ballot request form by calling the Election Office toll-free at (877) 560-5286 or by emailing election staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaigners required to submit reports to Election Office
There are no candidate names on the Special Election ballot, but the Election Office is requiring people who are publicly campaigning for or against the ballot questions to file declarations of ballot issue campaigning forms and reporting statements.
The Election Board approved the language of these forms during a June 26 meeting. The forms are now available to those individuals or organizations interested in campaigning for “yes” or “no” votes on specific ballot questions.
The ballot issue campaigning form asks for the individual or organization’s name and contact information. Those who file the form are also required to submit campaign reporting forms which disclose information and donation amounts (over $200) of donors who financially support the campaigning activities of the individual or organization.
Those who file the ballot issue campaigning forms may also purchase a voter registry list from the Election Office by filing out a request form and paying a fee up to $10 for an electronic list.
For more information on the special election or amendments, visit the ON Election Office’s Web site online at www.osagetribe.com/electionboard. The Election Office is also on Facebook. “Like” the office page to receive its news status updates.
Amendment questions on the ballot
The four proposed questions (pertaining to the Minerals Estate) to be presented to Osage voters are:
- ONCR 10-19 (sponsored by Congressman Raymond Red Corn) asks whether a Section 25 should be inserted into the Constitution under Article VI titled “Limitations of Legislative Power.” If passed, the proposed Section 25 would read:
“(Congress) shall not tax the Osage Minerals Estate, nor shall the (Congress) tax the production or transportation of materials extracted from the Osage Minerals Estate, nor shall the (Congress) appropriate Osage Minerals Estate funds. The (Congress) shall not tax Osage mineral royalties.”
- ONCR 11-12 (Standing Bear) asks voters whether Article VII, Section 5 should be amended to exclude the Nation’s legislative and executive branches and Osage Minerals Council from the Executive Branch’s composition. If passed, the section will read:
“The Executive Branch shall consist of the elected offices of Principal Chief and Assistant Principal Chief, and all departments, agencies, commissions, village committees, boards, trusts, authorities, and instrumentalities of the Osage Nation except those within the authority of the Osage Nation Congress, Osage Nation Judiciary or Osage Minerals Council.”
- ONCR 11-13 (Standing Bear) asks whether Article XIII, Section 2 (election laws) should be amended to exclude the OMC election from the Nation’s government election code. If passed, the amended section will read:
“(Congress) shall enact an election code governing all necessary election procedures, except for elections for the Osage Minerals Council. The (OMC) shall enact Resolution(s) governing all election procedures for the (OMC).”
- ONCR 11-14 (Standing Bear) calls for deleting and revising Article XV which is “Management of the Osage Minerals Estate by the Osage Minerals Council.” If passed, the new section would replace the existing section titled: “Natural Resources and Minerals Management.”
The proposed amended section contains five sections, which define the Osage Minerals Estate, lists its powers and office qualifications.
The first section (subject to amendment question) would define the Minerals Estate as: “the oil, gas, coal and other minerals within the boundaries established by the Osage Allotment Act of 1906 (34 Stat, 539), as amended, are hereby designated the Osage Minerals Estate.”
The second section would state the OMC is “vested with the sole authority to lease and develop the Osage Minerals Estate and to administer the duties previously granted to officers for the Osage Tribe by the (1906 Act), as amended provided, the right to receive income from the (Minerals Estate) may not be diminished. The Minerals Council shall be protected by the laws of the Osage Nation.”
The third, fourth and fifth sections would define the OMC composition of eight council members (elected by the shareholders) who must meet the following qualifications to serve on the OMC: be at least 18 years of age on election day; have a certificate of Osage blood by the United States; be a shareholder and are members of the Osage Nation or Osage Tribe. The OMC members are elected to four-year office terms during elections held the first Monday in June, which coincides with the Nation’s general elections also held that day.