Community , Government

Revised election code moves filing dates for ON Congress positions

For the 2018 Osage Nation general election, the filing period will change for those running for the Legislative Branch after the Fifth ON Congress passed a bill updating the Osage election code.

On Sept. 29, the Congress approved bill ONCA 17-107 (sponsored by Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead), which is an “Act to govern the conduct of Osage Nation elections” for the legislative and executive branches, as well as the election for the retention of ON judges in the Judicial Branch.

The updated election code passed after several meetings and discussions between the Election Office, its board, and the Congressional government operations committee regarding election law amendments. According to a revised version of the bill considered in committee, the filing date for Osages interested in running for Congress is now “between the first Tuesday in February and the second Monday in March for elections to be held in June of the same year,” which is Feb. 6 and March 12 of 2018.

In the 2016 election, the Congressional candidates had a nearly two-week filing period in March. Election officials initially sought a filing period change to alleviate conflicting and close deadlines in the election process. A prior effort to revise the election code failed during a summer special session, which proposed moving the Congressional candidate filing period with the Executive Branch candidate filing period in December with that revised version voted down.

The Executive Branch candidate filing period will remain the same with that respective branch’s filing period designated “between the first Tuesday in December and the second Monday in January for the primary election to be held in April and the general election to be held in June of the same year,” which is Dec. 5 and Jan. 8, 2018.

The revised election code states a primary election will be held on the first Monday of April (April 2) in even-numbered years for Executive Branch offices (Principal Chief and Assistant Principal Chief), but if two or fewer candidates file for that office then “those candidates shall advance to the general or special election and no primary election for those offices shall be held.”

The primary election in 2014 was held in March.

For the Judicial Branch, the judges who sit on the three-member Supreme Court or serve as the Chief Trial Court Judge are all appointed by the Principal Chief and are all subject to Congressional confirmation to serve four-year terms. Once the initial four-year term expires, those respective judges are eligible to stand for a retention vote to serve another four-year term, according to the Osage Constitution.

The filing period for the retention vote for the four Judicial Branch positions is “between the first Tuesday in February and the second Monday in March” which is the same filing period for the six Congressional seats that will open in the June election.