Saulteaux FN latest to hold election during COVID-19 pandemic

Saulteaux First Nation is the latest area First Nation to hold a band election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The election is scheduled to run Saturday, March 28 with polls open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. that day.

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As was the case the previous week at Red Pheasant Cree Nation, a number of band members have questioned the timing of the vote and called for a postponement.

An online petition has circulated at change.org calling for the postponement of the election, which has gathered 139 signatures as of 1 p.m. Friday.  

The latest word is that the vote is still proceeding, but under a number of strict conditions in response to the pandemic situation.

According to the notice posted at the Saulteaux FN Facebook page:

- Elders age 60 years and older will be the first members to vote. The hours between 9 and 11 a.m. are designated voting times for those age 60 and over.

- Only four people will be allowed in the poll at one time. There will be security on site to assist with the process.

- No candidates or electors are allowed to gather at the band hall during Election Day; people are required to vote and then leave the premises.

- Each candidate will be allowed one scrutineer in the band hall during polling hours. They must remain inside during the process and are required to sanitize their hands, be in clean physical health, wear gloves and keep six feet apart from another person. This person must be identified in a scrutineer form provided.

- At 8 p.m. polls will be closed and they will prepare for the count. Only election officials and either the candidate or scrutineer will be allowed inside the room.

The election race has two candidates for Chief, incumbent Kenny Moccasin and challenger Robert Camplin. There are 11 candidates nominated for the band council seats.       

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