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HomeElectionWahzhazhe Elections Board certifies 2024 General Election results

Wahzhazhe Elections Board certifies 2024 General Election results

A total of 2,030 Osages voted, which is a 445 voter decline from the 2022 General Election

The Wahzhazhe Elections Board certified the 2024 Osage Nation General Election results on June 18, which included the Congressional race for six seats and one Constitutional amendment question approved by Osage voters.

“Nobody has submitted any requests for a recount or challenge, so the results can be certified as is,” Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre told the board. The deadline for recount requests or challenges was on June 7.

Board members Belle Wilson and Chair Shannon Lockett voted to certify the June 3 election results while Vice Chair Terry Hazen was absent that day.

Five incumbents and one prior Congress member won the election and they will each serve another four-year term. The 2024 Osage Inauguration will be on July 13 at the Bartlesville Osage Casino & Hotel where election winners Joe Tillman, Jodie Revard, Billy Keene, John Maker, Maria Whitehorn and Pam Shaw will take their oaths of office.

Voters also amended the Osage Constitution with 76.92% voting for the amendment question on the ballot asking whether to allow appointees to be confirmed by Congress during special sessions in addition to the two regular sessions each year. According to the election results, a total of 1,450 voted for the amendment, 435 voted against the question, 144 undervoted and one person overvoted on the question. Constitutional amendment questions require 65% of voters to approve the question.

In the 2024 General Election, a total of 2,030 Osages voted, which is a 445 voter decline from the 2022 General Election where 2,475 voted. That year, the ballot also included the races for Principal Chief, Assistant Principal Chief and whether to retain the four Judicial Branch judges.

At the time of this year’s election, a total of 18,774 Osages were registered voters and the 2,030 who voted represent 10.81% of that amount. In the Congressional race, each voter could select up to six candidates for those open legislative seats, but a total of 1,431 undervoted, meaning they voted for less than six candidates out of the 16 listed on their ballot.

In the 2020 General Election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures that year, 14.94% of registered voters cast ballots, which was 2,449 out of 16,393 at that time. That year, the Election Board and staff encouraged voters to take advantage of absentee voting and 1,769 absentee ballots were received.

On election night, Rencountre, along with Election Board members and polling place workers, announced the results at 11:51 p.m. in front of the Chambers Building on the government campus in Pawhuska, which is just over an hour from the time when the 2022 General Election results were announced at the same place.

Rencountre said computer problems, as well as closing the polling place at the Pawhuska Osage Casino & Hotel contributed to the later time for results announced this year. “We were battling computer issues mostly, but as far as processing absentees, instead of transporting the equipment from here (office) to the polling site, we chose to leave it here and it’s not OK to split those two because I have to have the board verifying signatures and we came back to have more computers – and then when we got here, they weren’t working,” she said.

“Plus we didn’t have workers helping us here, it was just the five of us, it was three board members and (alternate board members Anita Fields and Fred Byers who worked that day too),” Wilson said, in addition to Assistant Election Supervisor Courtney Piearcy present that night.

“We have been plagued by computer issues, internet issues this entire election cycle,” Lockett said, adding the board and staff will work on changes for the next election year. “What they’ve had to overcome is amazing, it really is … It didn’t affect the results or the way the results were determined whatsoever, it just hung up the process. Nobody is more anxious to get to the end of it than we are, believe me.”

According to Election Office data, a total of 1,067 absentee ballots were received and counted in the 2024 General Election. By the April 19 deadline for absentee ballot requests, a total of 2,938 ballots were mailed to voters and ballots were due in the Pawhuska Post Office by Election Day to be counted.

For in-person voting, a total of 100 voted on Early Voting Day 1 and 84 voted on Early Voting Day 2. On Election Day, a total of 779 voted at the polling place for a total of 963 in-person voters, Rencountre said.

The next Osage General Election will take place on June 1, 2026.

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    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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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

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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