On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, William T. Walker, Regional Director of the Southwest Region, Bureau of Indian Affairs, issued a Certificate of Approval to the elections results for a Constitutional Amendment to lower the Isleta blood-quantum from 1/2 to 1/4. The amendment will modify Article II, Membership Sections I, II, III and IV of the Isleta Pueblo Constitution. The Certificate states:
“This amendment was duly adopted by a majority of qualified voters who cast ballots in the April 6th, 2016 election.”
“The election was carried out properly in accordance with the applicable federal regulations pursuant to 25 C.F.R. Part 81.”
“. . . today’s decision is a final agency action that is not “subject to appeal to a superior authority in the Department.” 25 C.F.R. §2.6.”
Walker’s letter explained that there were 569 challenges to the election, which were all denied and/or dismissed. From the 569 challenges:
308 were submitted by individuals who were eligible voters and registered to vote;
189 were submitted by eligible voters but there was no proof that these persons registered to vote;
41 were from non-eligible voters;
28 were illegible and/or had no return address; &
3 challenges were untimely.
Walker’s letter does not explain what types of challenges were raised. Nor, does his letter provide an explanation for why the challenges were deemed invalid. In other words, Walker does not provide any reasons or justification for his decision to dismiss or deny the challenges.
Nonetheless, the April 6th constitutional election results to lower the Isleta blood quantum from 1/2 to 1/4 are now official.
1500 Isleta tribal members registered to vote and 1332 persons actually voted. Tribal members voted as follows:
775 voted in favor of the amendment;
554 voted against; &
3 ballots were spoiled.