Photo caption: The Osage Nation General Election is June 1. Osage News File Photo
With increasing concerns of the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus, the Osage Nation Election Office is canceling its March 20 Congressional candidate workshop and will conduct a video presentation instead.
Each election year, the Election Office invites Osages seeking public office to attend a candidate workshop to go over election-related rules and laws and to answer any questions as the election season continues. The event also includes a drawing to determine the order in which the candidates’ names will appear on the ballot, as well as a separate drawing for Election Day candidate campsite locations at the ON campus park.
Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre announced the workshop cancelation to candidates on March 16. “As a precautionary measure due to the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Election Office will not be conducting the Candidate Workshop scheduled for Friday, March 20th at 9:00 a.m. Instead, we will be sending out a video to all candidates and allow for questions. Once all questions are received, then we will send out answers so that everyone can see all questions asked with their answers,” Rencountre said.
For the ballot placement drawing, Rencountre told candidates in an email, the drawing will take place as planned March 20, but it will be closed to the public, including candidates, and will be recorded and posted online.
As for the candidate campsite drawing, that event is postponed until further notice, Rencountre said on March 17.
At the start of the candidate filing period, all 15 Congressional candidates received copies of crucial information including the Nation’s election code and rules and regulations to govern the conduct of elections.
The workshop cancelation comes as various federal, local, state and tribal governments announce office closures, reduced office hours and changes in department and program services as proactive measures due to the coronavirus spread.
As of March 17, there are 17 positive cases of coronavirus reported in-state, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Three of those cases are in Tulsa County, six in Oklahoma County, two in Canadian County, two in Kay County, and one each in the counties of Cleveland, Jackson, Pawnee and Payne.
Pursuant to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the OSDH also recommends avoiding mass gatherings of more than 50 people. The COVID-19 hotline is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The number is (877) 215-8336.