Osage voters can rest easy now that the Osage Election Board has named all 34 candidates as compliant for Election Day June 4.
“Everybody has paid their fines up to this point, so everyone is good to go,” said Osage Nation Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre.
May 30 was the deadline for more than 20 candidates to pay fines for violations of campaign regulations.
At the May 31 election board meeting Rencountre announced that all candidates had paid fines, had rectified errors in their campaign reporting statements and those candidates who had not turned in campaign reporting statements had done so.
Rencountre said that the election board received notification from “two very honest candidates” that they had violated Rule Two, Campaign Finance Reporting and Practice, Section 6(F) – that states “Candidates who fail to state clearly the name of the individual or business entity responsible for placing advertisement” will be fined $50 – had turned themselves in.
Roscoe Mays, who didn’t indicate on his mail out who paid for it, and Nicki Revard Lorenzo, who did the same but with ink pens, were issued $50 fines.
Those candidates who failed to turn in campaign reporting statements – Bill Mashunkashey, Jozi Tall Chief, Rose Mary Shaw, Joe Mashunkashey and Shannon Edwards – all turned in their statements to the election office. Edwards turned her statement in within the first week of receiving notice, while both Mashunkashey’s, Tall Chief and Shaw turned theirs in May 30, causing them to receive an additional $50 fine. The regulation states that candidates who fail to turn in campaign reporting statements will receive a $50 fine each week they are late after the deadline.
Eight candidates filed appeals with the Election Board. John Maker, Archie Mason, Roscoe Mays, Shane Rencountre, Jim Ryan, Carl Sellers, Anthony Shackelford and RJ Walker. All but Walker lacked bank statements with their campaign reporting statements and had since turned those in. The board dropped their fines of $150.
Walker appealed to the board for his $50 fine of his newspaper ad that appeared in The Bigheart Times. A letter from The Bigheart Times explained that Walker had the “paid for” language on his ad but the printer printed the newspaper too dark and the print bled, making it unreadable.
Rencountre said she looked at the ad again “you have to get a magnifying glass to see it” but verified Walker did have the language on the ad. The $50 fine was dropped.
Candidate Candy Thomas asked the board if they had heard that there were Osages not getting their absentee ballots and wondered if the board could get the absentee ballots sent to voters by overnight mail.
“We cannot overnight anything, it’s in the Election Code,” said Osage Nation Election Board Chairman, Walter Hopper. “We can only send things first class.”
Election Board member Shannon Lockett said that the board had looked into the issue and that many of the complaints they had received were due to no initial request for an absentee ballot or incomplete ballot requests – problems that could have been prevented if the voter had called the election office to inquire about their ballot status.
“People were verified when the election office received their absentee ballot request,” said Lockett, who pointed out that on the request form voters were given the option to have the election office notify them email or phone when the office received their request. “We looked into ways to prevent this from happening.”
She added that the board would be looking into other avenues to deliver absentee ballots before the next election in 2014.
“I know we’re being raked over the coals on various social networks but we have the verification to back up that we sent these [absentee ballots] by accordance of the law,” Lockett said.
Completed absentee ballot requests were sent to TrueBallot Inc. – the Maryland-based election company running the 2012 Osage Election – on April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11 and lastly on May 16.
In other cases of late absentee ballots the board attributed it to the U.S. Postal System and the recent holiday that might have slowed down some ballots.
Rencountre told a story of one voter who had requested his absentee ballot on May 11, didn’t receive it within seven days and requested a duplicate. He received the original absentee ballot on May 25, taking the ballot 14 days to make it’s destination, where as the duplicate ballot arrived on May 29, within the seven days promised.
“The original [ballot] got hung up in the postal system,” she said.
According to the ON election office, a total of 1,677 absentee ballots have been requested for the 2012 election. In the 2010 Osage General Election there were a total of 1,370 absentee ballots counted, outnumbering the in-person votes which totaled 1,258.
The next election board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. June 4, Election Day.
The final tally of candidates who have paid their fines and become compliant as of May 31:
Election Board Meeting April 12, $50 fine
Shannon Edwards (Osage News Ad) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 2, $50 fine
Maria Whitehorn (signs) Paid
Justin Mays (signs) Paid
Roscoe Mays (signs) Paid
Shannon Edwards (mail out) Paid
John Maker (mail out) Paid
Archie Mason (Osage News Online Banner Ad) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 7, $50 fine
John Maker (signs) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 14, $50 fine
Cecelia Tallchief (mail out) Paid
Jerri Jean Branstetter (mail out & use of Osage Nation work equipment) Paid
Amanda Proctor (Osage News Ad) Paid
Kathryn Red Corn (Osage News Ad) Paid
Maria Whitehorn (Banner) Paid
Hank Hainzinger (Osage News Ad) Paid
RJ Walker (Osage News Ad) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 22, $50 fine
Carl Sellers (signs) Paid
Hank Hainzinger (signs, car magnet & banner) Paid
Shannon Edwards (signs) Paid
Archie Mason (late campaign reporting statement) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 25, $50 fine
Shane Rencountre (signs) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 31, $50 fine
Roscoe Mays (mail out)
Nicki Revard Lorenzo (pens)
CAMPAIGN REPORTING STATEMENTS
Nicki Revard Lorenzo
Olivia “Libbi” Gray
Teresa DeRoin Hudgins
Angela Marie Pratt
Jerri Jean Branstetter
Jozi Tall Chief
Rose Mary Shaw
Kathryn Red Corn
Joseph Roger Lynn