By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
After reviewing complaints, the Rocky Boy election board has decided to throw out the results of a Dec. 10 race to fill a vacancy on the tribal council and hold a second election.
The board cited a failure to give proper notice to the public as the reason for voiding the December results.
The seat was vacated by John "Chance" Houle when he defeated incumbent chairman Alvin Windy Boy Sr. in November's general election.
Windy Boy was the winner of the Dec. 10 election held to fill Houle's council seat.
Windy Boy was not available for comment today.
In a letter to the candidates, the board said tribal election rules require the election be advertised in the Havre Daily News at least two days prior to the election. The Dec. 10 election was advertised only one day prior, the letter said.
The board voted unanimously on Sunday to void the results.
Candidate Ricky Morsette said he filed a complaint immediately following the election saying there had not been sufficient notice. He said today he is happy with the board's decision.
Another election will be held Jan. 6. It lists all of the candidates from the previous election, according to election rules, though Mary Ruth St. Pierre said Gilbert Belgarde and Melvin Morsette Jr. have withdrawn.
Belgarde withdrew from the election after the tribal council appointed him as a tribal court judge, a position he has held on and off since 1989. Belgarde stepped down as chief tribal judge in February after voters decided that tribal judges should be appointed rather than elected.
Belgarde has filed a complaint with the election board asking that close relatives should not be allowed to sit on the council together. Council member Jonathan Windy Boy is Alvin Windy Boy's brother.
The election board did not respond to that complaint.
The ballot will list the 10 candidates from the previous election, including the two who have withdrawn. They are: Debbie St. Pierre, Melvin Morsette Jr., Harlan Gopher Baker, Tim Koop, Alvin Windy Boy Sr., Russell Standing Rock, Manuel Duran Jr., Ricky Morsette, Gilbert Belgarde and Thomas Roasting Stick, Sr.
The election will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 6 in the Old Stone Child College gymnasium.