Mushkegowuk election report released, finds no issue

Mushkegowuk election officials have found no issues with the 2023 vote.

Chief electoral officer Sherry Davey's report looking into the Aug. 25 election was released on Sept. 5. It showed the process of reviewing spoiled ballots in both Kashechewan and Taykwa Tagamou Nation, as well as a review of the campaign activities of the grand chief candidates.

With just six votes between grand chief elect Walter Leo Friday and Alison Linklater, the ballots for the grand chief position were recounted last week. That process confirmed Friday as the new leader of the organization. Further investigation was also needed because of an election protest.

One spoiled ballot in Taykwa Tagamou Nation was included in the recount for Linklater, and two were included in Kashechewan — one for Linklater and one for Friday.

The election code states that any ballot with markings that are not a simple X is considered spoiled.

The recount was the first part of the verification process and the second part contained a protest from one of the candidates.

"Within 24 hours, one of the candidates submitted a letter with their discrepancies, their concerns," said Davey. "So I addressed those concerns, and there were no violations at all."

The investigation found ample information on how to vote and what the process would include was available in both the mail-in and email voting packages. Deputy electoral officers were available at all voting sites to help anyone needing it.

The report states that there were no campaign violations during the last days before the election and that all candidates complied with the rules set out by the election code.

An email was sent to candidates, informing them that the time for campaigning ended late on Aug. 23.

The email did not set an exact time for candidates to stop campaigning, so any activity that occurred before the candidates received the email was within the rules laid out by the election code.

The chief electoral officer received a request for more campaign time on the evening of Aug. 23, and it was granted the next morning, allowing candidates to continue through Aug. 24.

In the election, Amos Wesley was also elected deputy grand chief north. Natasha Martin was acclaimed as deputy grand chief south.

The grand chief elect and both duputy grand chiefs elect are in the offices and getting comfortable in their new roles, said Davey.

"They're all working now," said Davey. "Everybody's working, everybody's at the office and I've met with them."

Mushkegowuk Council represents seven First Nations in northeastern Ontario.

All three will be sworn into office at the upcoming annual general meeting.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,