Candidate appealing Fort Resolution election results
Candidate, voter say requirement to vote in community altered outcome
A candidate in the election for chief and council of the Deninu Kue First Nation is appealing the results of the election.
Sharon Lafferty said the outcome of the March 14 election could have been quite different if proxy voting had been allowed. Under the Fort Resolution band's custom election code, voters must cast their ballots in the community. She said she is planning to officially appeal the result on Monday.
"People have to expend all kinds of money to come here," said Lafferty, a former band councillor. "Not all people could afford to come here."
"People are being denied. If you're denying proxies you're denying all future generations."
Lafferty ran for both band council and chief. Louis Balsillie got 116 votes to Lafferty's 65 in the race for chief. Lafferty finished sixth among seven candidates running for three council seats.
She said the election could also have been held in March, when more band members studying in the south or at Aurora College would have been back in town during for March break.
According to figures posted by the federal government, there are 961 members of the Deninu Kue First Nation. The chief electoral officer, Raymond King, said more than half do not live in Fort Resolution.
King said the band's custom election code does not allow proxy voting. He said changing that would require the support of 51% of the band's members.
Patricia Casaway is a member of the Deninu Kue First Nation. She says she would have liked to have voted in the election but, as a student at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, she said travelling to Fort Resolution was not possible.
"To not be able to vote means I'm not a part of the band," she said. "If you don't have any say in what goes on in your band then you're not part of it."
Casaway said the band collects federal funding on her behalf so she should have a say in who gets to decide how that money is spent.
Chief Louis Balsillie declined to comment about the dispute.