Judge issues orders on absentee ballots

Judge issues orders on absentee ballots
(MN File Photo) Election Candidate files an induction in MCN District Court Oct. 31. Judge Pittman issues order about absentee ballots.

Bruner’s injunction initiates District Court orders on ballot preservation

By Angel Ellis, Reporter

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– Muscogee (Creek) Nation (MCN Election candidate for Principal Chief Bim Stephen Bruner filed a complaint for injunctive relief and a request for an expedited hearing along with a brief in support of the filings in reference to the absentee ballots in the 2019 election.

The filings were received by the MCN District Court on Oct. 31.

The documents filed in the court alleged that ‘hundreds of absentee voters’ were disenfranchised from the electoral process.

‘Bruner and his volunteers have spoken with well over 1000 voters, many of them multiple times and many of them daily to see if they received their ballots,’ the documents said.

The injunction went on to allege that conflicting information was given to voters as to what action they could take to remedy the problem.

The injunction listed affidavits from Tiffany Phillips and Eric Bruner as examples of individuals whose statements reflect they requested but never received ballots.

The filing asked that ‘MCN Election Board receives absentee ballots for the Nov. 2 election until 11 am on Nov. 9.’

It further requested that the board maintain strict and proper chain of custody of all absentee ballots through out the protest period and certification of the results.

MCN District Court Judge Jeremy Pittman received the filing and set a hearing in the matter for Nov. 1 at 10 a.m.

In the hearing Bruner and his attorney requested that the court order the election board to preserve the ballots that come through the mail after Nov. 2.

MCN Election Board members and Manager was present for the hearing but the counsel for the board was not able to attend the hearing due health issues.

Present instead in the matter was Assistant Attorney General Kyle Haskins and Mark Thetford.

Initially Bruner’s Counsel objected to the Attorney Generals staff being involved in the hearing.

Haskins refuted the objection saying that the Attorney General Office interest’s is to defend the laws of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation including election code.

Judge Pittman issued an order stating that the Election will retrieve absentee ballots daily from the Okmulgee Post Office from Nov. 4 through Nov. 9.

‘It is further ordered that, to preserve the integrity of the absentee ballots that are received after Nov. 2,’ each days absentee ballots shall be secured and organized separately, using separate boxes for each day’s absentee ballots received, and kept secure in a location separate from all other ballots cast during the Nov. 2, and Primary Election until further order.

The order said that the ballots received after Nov. 2, at 11 a.m. shall not be counted as part of the primary election results unless additional orders are issued by court.

The next hearing in this matter is set for Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. Mvskoke Media will continue to follow the topic and bring new information as it becomes available.

To read the court filings in their entirety https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MEOGntyD9FJaqpjEb5PIAHPImxUaMgSG

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