Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Candidate spirits high despite rainfall

Election Office retrieves absentee ballots from Post Office for processing

Election Day is here and Osages from around the country will be voting on six individuals to join the 9th Osage Nation Congress.

In the morning hours on Election Day, the rain was steady but that didn’t deter Joe Tillman, Maria Whitehorn and Traci Phillips from setting up their camps and preparing for voters around 10 a.m. According to the NWS, the rain is scheduled to subside around 1 p.m.

Seeking office is Joe Tillman (Incumbent), John Maker (Incumbent), Jodie Revard (Incumbent), Traci Phillips, Billy Keene (Incumbent), Pam Shaw (Incumbent), William Kemble, Christa Fulkerson, Maria Whitehorn, Angela Pratt, Tina Allen, Liberty Metcalf, Patrick Cullen-Carroll, Alexis Martin, Brooklin Sweezy and Jacque Jones.

“Rain is a blessing,” Tillman said, who is sharing a camp with John Maker under the main arbor at the Osage Nation Campus park. “We will be here regardless. It’s raining now but it’s supposed to stop by noon. Lunch and dinner will be served and the Tillman/Maker camp is going to carry on. Bring your umbrella and come on down, we’d love to have you.”

Whitehorn and family members were busy setting up her camp.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Whitehorn said, who has two tents set up in the middle of the park. “It’s not hot and sweaty so come on down. We’ll be here till the end. And, whatever you do today, vote.”

Phillips, who had cooks busy preparing food and setting up camp is located west of Whitehorn’s camp.

“We’ll be here all day,” Phillips said. “We’ll be here until the poll ends.”

Due to the cloud overcast, some areas in the campus park were poorly lit. Due to Wahzhazhe Elections office policy, candidates are prohibited from utilizing the Nation’s electricity or water.

Absentee Ballots retrieved

Osage Nation election staff retrieved the absentee ballots from the Pawhuska Post office where they were kept after arriving in the mail cycle.

ONPD Officers Perryman and Hall escorted Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre and Election Board member Shannon Lockett to retrieve the absentee ballots. The ONPD officers then escorted Rencountre back to the Wahzhazhe Elections office and then to the Osage Casino Hotel in Pawhuska where they will finish processing the absentee ballots. As of 12:30 p.m., Rencountre said staff has been verifying signatures on the absentee ballots and there were approximately 600 signatures left to verify.

Throughout the day, election workers and ON police will also be monitoring and enforcing the “No Electioneering” rule, which prohibits activities within 300 feet of the polling place (Osage Casino Hotel-Pawhuska) where a person’s vote may be persuaded. According to the Election Office, examples of electioneering include: distributing written or printed campaign material; wearing or possessing campaign signs, stickers, buttons, hand fans, etc.; talking about voting for or against a particular candidate or issue; candidates and their campaign committee members greeting voters as they approach the polling place.

Once the election poll closes at 8 p.m. and the ballot counting is complete, election officials will come to the campus and announce the election results in front of the Chambers Building under the portico.


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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