Northern Arapaho Tribal Elections On Hold

Nov 15, 2012

The Northern Arapaho general tribal election, which was supposed to take place today, has been postponed to December.

First, the tribe will conduct a new primary later this month. The original primary election’s results have been voided because Arapaho Business Council members said one candidate, Kim Harja, should not have been on the ballot. Harja is supposed to sit out until 2016 because she was previously dismissed from the Council.

Francine Shakespeare, sister of Business Council Chairman and incumbent candidate Jim Shakespeare, initiated a successful petition calling for a special General Council meeting. Only 144 Arapahos attended, voting to void the primary results and remove all election staff, including election judges. They nominated new judges.   

But Jana Rising Sun, the ousted head election judge, says that’s a small number of people to speak for a tribe of 10,000. And the original elections were conducted in the same way they always have been, by an experienced group of all-female election judges. 

“Are you guys saying that it wasn’t a good election, we didn’t follow resolution? That’s one thing that I make sure we do is follow resolution. And mind you, all the ladies that sit on there have been an election judge more years than I have.”

Rising Sun says if there had been legitimate problems with the election process, those should have been brought to light long before the primary was held.