Ballot harvesting prevention legislation proposed

Ballot harvesting prevention legislation proposed
(MN File Photo) A proposed election law was passed through committee and will be considered at full council on Nov. 16.

MCN NC Rep. Travis Scott sponsors legislation to address ballot security concerns of MCN citizens

Angel Ellis/Reporter

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma–On Nov. 16 the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council will consider legislation that deals with election code. The legislation sponsored by MCN NC Rep. Travis Scott addresses sections of the law dealing with election watchers, Petition for recounts and adds a section called “unlawful solicitation and collection of absentee ballot.”

Scott said the legislation was a collaboration of the Council and the Election Board working together to try to clarify some of the language in the code pertaining to the run off petition that was filed on Sept. 27.

“The Supreme Court order that was handed down in regard to that run off petition stated that the Nation Council needed to clarify the language in the law,” Scott said. “That was the starting point.”

He said that council members went to some election board meetings and got their input on some temporary changes that need to be done.

“Starting next year we are going to update the entire election code,” Scott said. “We’ve had citizens express concern with this election.”

“With consideration of the input from the Carter Center, the election board and the citizens, we will try to prevent what we’ve encountered in this election.”

According to Scott, the new legislation will clarify the petition process, ballot harvesting and solicitation of voters. He said it would give a more narrow scope to the recount petition process.

‘Any recount will be limited to only the elective office being sought by the candidate and the precincts or absentee ballots identified in the petition,’ the proposed legislation states.

According to Scott, this change would give the Supreme Court the option to rule more specifically on election petitions rather than throwing out an entire election.

“It specifies that if a particular candidate wants a recount then that is the only candidacy that would be affected by the recount,” Scott said.

The newly proposed law would also require all candidate’s election watchers be a Muscogee (Creek) Citizens and a registered voter of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

As the law sits today, nothing in the code has requirements on tribal citizenship for watchers.

“The other part of the process this legislation addresses is ballot harvesting and solicitation of voters,” Scott said.

The election code will define the ‘unlawful solicitation and collection of absentee ballots from another person shall be deemed guilty of a felony.’

It does allow for provisions for caregivers or those with guardianship or power of attorney. If approved by council the new law would be immediately effective.

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