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REPORT TO MEMBERSHIP

The report will address the recount and protest according to the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code dated May 30, 2023.


1. RECOUNT SECTION

According to Part 15.7 – 15.10 – Mushkegowuk Council Election Code, a recount for the Grand Chief ballots was completed Wednesday, August 30, 2023 and the findings and results are below. Please note the necessary changes that had to be made during the recount:





MAIL-IN VOTING

FINDING #1


Post Office Mailbox:

· The postmaster called and informed my office that there was an envelope in the mailbox that was post marked for August 20, 2023. The envelope was opened at the recount, reviewed and was visible to scrutineers present.

Conclusion:

· To include and count the ballot that was at the post office mailbox, ballot for candidate, Alison Linklater


2. PROTEST SECTION

According to Part 16.1 – 16.5 of the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code, the Chief Electoral Officer initiated an investigation which was completed September 2, 2023 and below is the outcome:

SPOILED BALLOTS



All the spoiled ballots were reviewed August 30, 2023 by the Deputy Electoral Officers and the Chief Electoral Officer. Part 13.3 of the Election Code is strict and requires a ballot to be rejected if it has any writing on it other than a single line "X". As a result, the Chief Electoral Officer and Deputy Electoral Officers were required to reject ballots even in cases where the intention of the voter was clear, but the voter marked their ballot with any mark other than a single line "X". The vast majority of spoiled ballots in this election were instances where the voter used a mark other than a single line "X" to mark their ballot.

The findings and outcome are as follows:

FINDING #1


Taykwa Tagamou Nation Polling Station:

· The ballots were reviewed and there was one ballot that was spoiled. The ballot was reviewed by the Chief Electoral Officer, all Deputy Electoral Officers and was visible to the scrutineers present.

Conclusion:

· To include and count the ballot as spoiled, ballot for candidate, Alison Linklater.

FINDING #2


Kashechewan First Nation Polling Station:

· The ballots were reviewed and there were two (2) ballots in question. The ballots were reviewed by the Chief Electoral Officer, all Deputy Electoral Officers and were visible to the scrutineers present.

Conclusion:

· To include and count as acceptable ballots, 1 ballot for Alison Linklater and 1 ballot for Walter Leo Friday.


ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

1. Voting procedures were included in the mail-in voting packages and the email voting packages that were sent out to those members who requested such. All voters were well versed on how to vote and by marking a single “X” in the box provided on the ballot(s). As per Part 13.3, Part 14.4 and Part 14.5 of the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code. The Deputy Electoral Officers at all polling stations thoroughly explained the necessary procedures to each voter who attended to cast a vote. All polling stations had specific posters that indicated the type of marking for ballot(s). All voters were well versed on how to vote and by marking a single “X” in the box provided on the ballot(s). As per Part 13.3 of the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code.

2. There was a specific deadline “DATE” for voters to return the completed mail-in ballots and email ballots and it was clearly August 25, 2023. The election code states a “DATE”. As per Part 14.4b and Part 14.5b of the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code. All ballots were included and counted that were received on or before August 25, 2023 for email packages. All ballots were included and counted that were received before and post marked prior to August 25, 2023 for mail in packages. No ballots were received nor rejected after the deadline date of August 25, 2023.

3. A sudden written request from Chief Jason Gauthier was received to move the Missanabie Cree polling station to Island View Camp a week early due to the MCFN office being closed from August 14 to 25 inclusive. The members and staff were going to be at the annual camp on the reserve grounds around Dog Lake. It was an initiative to gain more MCFN members at the Mushkegowuk Council poll. Most of the MCFN members live off reserve and do not reside in Sault Ste. Marie. A majority of members were at the annual camp.

The Chief Electoral Officer investigated the scenario and made the decision to approve Chief Gauthier’s request. The polling station was not cancelled it was moved. Furthermore, Deputy Electoral Officer, David Easton was not available to work at the polling station on August 18 and August 25 of the General Election due to other work commitments. Therefore, the Chief Electoral Officer was required to travel to Dog Lake to open and close the poll for the MCFN members on August 18. There was a better turnout at MCFN than previous General ElectionsAll approval and authority are afforded to the Chief Electoral Officer by the Council of Chiefs upon hiring. The Chief Electoral Officer oversees and coordinates the entire voting process from beginning to end, deals with all matters and makes rulings accordingly. As per Part 10 of the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code.

4. On August 23, 2023 at 10:49 p.m. the Chief Electoral Officer sent a email informing the candidates that ‘they should be wrapping up all your campaigning tonight”, and then logged off for the evening. That same evening, Alison Linklater sent (2) two emails to the Chief Electoral Officer, the first at 11:15 p.m. requesting more campaigning time the following day, and the second at 11:51 p.m. asking if election materials need to be deleted from social media by 9 a.m. the following day. At 12:12 a.m. on August 24, 2023, Walter Leo Friday posted a campaign message to Facebook. Mr. Friday has advised that he did not receive the email sent at 10:49 p.m. on August 23, 2023 until the next day. On August 24, 2023, the Chief Electoral Officer responded to the request from Ms. Linklater to continuing campaigning by sending an email at 9:09 a.m. to all candidates granting them approval to continue with campaigning the day and evening of August 24, 2023 accordingly.


Campaigning of all candidates solely resides with the individual that is seeking a political office. The Chief Electoral Officer is not informed of any campaigning efforts of the candidates and does attend nor become involved in any way whatsoever with a candidate. He/she only provides information, interpretation of the Election Code and last but not limited to a formal written complaint or concern. As per Part 10k and Part 11.5 of the Mushkegowuk Council Election Code.


The Facebook message sent by Walter Leo Friday did not violate any rules in the Election Code or set by the Chief Electoral Officer. Mr. Friday did not receive the email sent late in the evening of August 23, 2023 until the following morning. Moreover, the August 23, 2023 email did not set a specific time for campaigning to be wrapped up, stating rather that it had to be “wrapped up tonight”. Finally, the Chief Electoral Officer modified her decision the following morning at the request of Ms. Linklater to allow all candidates to continue to campaign on August 24, 2023.

This concludes the investigation and findings of the recount and protest.


Thank you.

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