Possible Ballot Confusion

confusing_ballotsCharlene Seidl, a tribal member, attended the Isleta Tribal Council meeting on September 9, 2014, to alert the Council to potential problems with the ballot for the upcoming secretarial election. To view a sample ballot, click: Sample Ballot

Ms. Seidl raised two concerns:

First, the ballot does not contain the actual proposed language to amend the Tribal Constitution. She was concerned that persons may no longer have the pamphlets containing the proposed amendments.

In response, John Antonio, Superintendent for Southern Pueblos Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), said that they were hoping that people would save the pamphlets that they received in the mail. If not, he said, that the proposed amendments are online at the Tribe’s website. Additionally, he said that they plan to have posters at the polls containing the proposed amendments.

Ms. Seidl’s second  concern was that the ballot format may cause confusion for some voters.  The ballot requires a person to complete an arrow pointing to the option the voter chooses. So, a voter needs to connect the back end of the arrow to the front end of the arrow.

Ms. Seidl was concerned that people would simply circle the option that they wanted instead completing the arrow. Or, voters might simply write an “X” on the line in front of their selection. Ms. Seidl did not want to see ballots disqualified based on the confusion that the ballot may cause.  She is especially concerned about our elders getting their votes disqualified.

In response, Antonio said, that there are instructions on the ballot that explain how a person is supposed to vote. Also, he said, that he would address the issue with the election board, if the problem actually occurs and then the board would decide how to deal with the issue.

To download the pamphlet containing the amendments, click: Proposed Amendments to the Isleta Tribal Constitution

ATTENTION: Persons voting by absentee ballot must send in their votes prior to the election date on September 20th.   Ballots must be in no later than the closing of the polls on September 20th.  Ballots received after the election date will not be counted.


By Christopher Abeita

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