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Osage Nation General Election and Minerals Council elections underway

Election Day is here and voting is underway for both the Osage Nation General Election and the Osage Minerals Council Election.

For the general election the polling place will be held in the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center, 1449 W. Main St., in Pawhuska. This is the first election year the Election Board decided to move the polling place from the Congressional Chambers on the government campus where previous government elections have been historically held. The minerals council election, however, will be held at the congressional chambers.

Both polling places close at 8 p.m.

For the primary election, the Election Board voted to move the polling place to the cultural center over concerns of potential inclement weather and traffic jams due to the ongoing campus master plan construction. Since then, Election Board Chairwoman Shannon Lockett praised the cultural center venue for having enough room to accommodate the voters and contract company TrueBallot Inc., which will conduct the ballot counting after the poll doors close.

Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre said the 2014 election year is on its way to being the year her office has received the most requests for absentee ballots in the reformed government’s history. As of April 30, the Osage Nation Election Board said it has received 1,809 absentee ballot request forms. The absentee ballots will be retrieved at the Pawhuska Post Office by the election supervisor at 10 a.m. today and election staff and volunteers will begin the count.

In addition to the candidates for the two Executive Branch offices and six Congressional seats, Osage voters will be asked to vote on six constitutional amendment questions. Also, voters will be asked to vote on retaining two judges in the Judicial Branch.

For the Judicial Branch judges, Supreme Court Chief Justice Meredith Drent and Trial Court Chief Judge Marvin Stepson’s names will appear on the ballot. Associate Supreme Court Justice Jeanine Logan’s name is not listed on the ballot.

ON Trial Court Administrator Jeanna Red Eagle said Logan has decided to retire at the end of her Supreme Court term.

Election Day for the Osage Minerals Council

Despite the changes in the ON election polling place, the Osage Minerals Council election’s polling place will remain at the Congressional Chambers on June 2.

All eight seats on the OMC are up for grabs in the election, which will also take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In this year’s OMC election, 17 people, including six incumbents, are running for office.

For further assistance, Osage shareholders may call the OMC election office at (918) 287-5288 or email:


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2014-06-02 00:00:00

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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