The Kiowa Election Board has been locked out of its office at the tribal complex since a June 2011 recall election, prompting a move east.
CARNEGIE, Okla. — The Kiowa Election Board will be conducting a special election Dec. 22.
All eight seats on the tribe’s business council and four seats on the Kiowa Housing Commission will be on the ballot. The filing fee is $150 per candidate. Potential candidates may file for office on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through Nov. 9 at the Anadarko Public Library, located at 215 W. Broadway, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
All tribal citizens who are 21 years old or older are eligible to run for office except those who have been in debt to the tribe for at least two years or are convicted felons.
The Kiowa Election Board has been locked out of its office at the tribal complex since a June 2011 recall election, prompting the move east.
“Every time there is a recall election, they blame the election board,” Kiowa Election Board chairman Dwayne Davis said. “We just run it. We don’t get in the middle of it. When we get an order from the hearing board, we don’t get a choice. We just follow those orders.”
The election board is in the process of confirming a polling place in Carnegie. Precincts in Lawton, Okla., and Hobart, Okla., have been secured.
The election board is also registering new voters through Nov. 23. Any Kiowa tribal citizen older than 18 is eligible to vote.
In addition to the 12 positions, issues brought before the Kiowa Indian Council at its 2011 and 2012 meetings will be on the ballot. Among those questions is a proposal that would allow the Kiowa Casino Operations Authority to refinance the tribe’s Red River Casino in Devol, Okla., which is currently $46 million in debt.
After the Kiowa Indian Council meeting on Oct. 6, a representative for the tribe would not confirm a timeline for the election due to a vacancy on the election board. Davis said the board still has an open seat, but with four members, has enough for quorum to conduct business.
“We are required to have a quorum of three,” he said. “We can still operate with the vacancy.”
Under the tribe’s constitution, issues presented at the Kiowa Indian Council meeting are supposed to be voted on during the first Saturday in November. Because the election board is combining the issues with the eight seats up for grabs, Davis said they have to allow 60 days from the election’s announcement to allow sufficient time for voter registration and candidate filing.
The Kiowa Tribe’s public relations office did not respond to requests for comment.