With only two candidates running for Osage Nation Principal Chief and two for Assistant Principal Chief, there will not be a 2018 primary election, according to election officials.
Those candidates, along with those running for six seats on the ON Congress, Judicial Branch judges up for retention votes and any questions referred for a yes or no votes will be on the ballot for the Nation’s June 4 general election. Election Day voting will take place at the ON Museum and two days of early voting will be held at the ON Election Office in downtown Pawhuska.
The four Osages – all currently elected officials or incumbents – who filed for candidacy in December will all appear on the June 4 ballot for voters’ consideration. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is seeking his second term and ON Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn has filed her candidacy for Principal Chief. Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn is seeking his second term and ON Congressman Otto Hamilton has filed his candidacy for Assistant Principal Chief. Jan. 8 was the final day of the month-long filing period to run for those two offices with no other individuals filing at the ON Election Office.
The next day, the Election Board voted to certify the four candidates running for Executive Branch offices. All four candidates passed background checks conducted by the ON Attorney General’s Office, which notified the Election Office of the results. The Election Office posted the list of the four certified candidates following the unanimous 3-0 Election Board vote to certify on Jan. 9. Election Board members voting that day were Shannon Lockett (chairwoman), Terry Hazen and Belle Wilson.
Per the Nation’s Election Code there is a three-day window for qualified Osage voters to contest the candidacy of the four certified candidates. Any contest of candidacy shall be filed with the Election Office and the deadline to do so is Friday Jan. 12 at the close of business. Should a contest be filed, a public hearing will be held to determine the validity of the contest and the board’s verdict shall be final.
Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre said she plans to send out an election notice to the Osage public advising of no primary election, which would’ve been held April 2. She said there will be a cost savings to the Nation, considering there will be no printing expenses for primary election ballots, but that dollar amount wasn’t immediately available. The next Election Board meeting is scheduled Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Election Office, 608 Kihekah Ave. in Pawhuska.