Many dispute Washoe election results
October 22, 2002
The final count for the Washoe Tribe election is not due until Monday, but several members are disputing results because they say eligible voters were turned away at the polls.
Unofficial results released after Saturday’s election show longtime Chairman Brian Wallace finished with 222 votes, compared to his closest challenger Al Granados, who had 126 votes. Wallace will be starting his fourth four-year term in January.
“People are saying (Wallace) won by a landslide. We are saying he won by a mudslide,” said Steve Jerome-Wyatt, an outspoken critic of Wallace, who heads the Affiliated Obsidian Nation.
The AON is a faction of the Washoe Tribe planning a protest of the upcoming Nevada Day parade because Wallace was selected to represent the Washoe’s as one of four grand marshals.
Wyatt said nearly 50 Washoe tribal members have come forward to say they were not allowed to vote because of outdated eligible voters lists distributed by the tribe. Granados had more than half of his campaign fliers returned by the U.S. Postal Service because of outdated information supplied by the tribe, he said.
Candidate Benny Mills said most members turned away during Saturday’s election are off-reservation members, including himself, who ran against Wallace.
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“At first I thought they were targeting me and jacking me around,” said Mills. “But it turns out a lot of eligible members had not received absentee ballots in time either.”
Mills said the latest tribal newsletter indicated off-reservation members had a choice to vote by absentee ballot, but the ballots were not received in time for the election.
Mills said he and candidate Granados were planning to consult an attorney yesterday to discuss a suit against the tribe for election fraud.
Darinda Caldera, a member of the tribe’s election board, said it is the right of every tribal member to dispute the election.
“It’s our process,” she said.
Caldera could not comment on the eligible voters lists, and Wallace did not return phone call as of press time.
Candidates who dispute the results have until Friday to take their case to the tribal election committee. From there, Wyatt said the tribal council will make a determination if the process was legitimate.
“We are getting together and trying to mount a challenge,” said Wyatt. “Many were denied their right to vote. We will ask for a recount, and an account of the voters who were turned away.”
Wyatt said during the vote tally process Saturday, Wallace and Granados were neck and neck for a long time. But, he said, there was a huge chunk of votes all declared for Wallace.
“All of a sudden, there was a layer of votes strictly for him,” he said. “Don’t tell me this election was honest.
“The whole election was an exercise in corruption, and any community who supports Wallace is promoting corruption.”
Another candidate running against Wallace, Steve Dexter of Carson City said the numbers just don’t add up. He lodged a formal complaint with the tribe’s election department Tuesday.
He said results indicate that while 490 votes were cast for the chairman candidates, only 397 actually voted – when adding all other votes case for the other seats.
“Depravity has sunk to a new level,” he wrote. “The results of this recent election show how it really is. When a neutral party volunteered (to monitor the election), they were turned away. Another Brian Wallace supporter trick.”
Dexter said after his complaint is reviewed by the tribal council, it will be up to the election department to respond.
“How can that be fair?” he said.
Other unofficial results in the Washoe election include:
Dresslerville Community Council:
Anthony Smokey – 73
Rebecca Smokey – 71
Lisa McDonald-Sam – 69
L. Mark Kizer – 59
Amelia Kizer – 54
Kay Simpson – 51
Doris Wyatt-Buckhart – 48
Arlen Wyatt – 48
Carson Community Council:
Warner Gary Nevers – 60
Kathryn F. Rogers – 39
Ellen Filmore – 38
Bertena Galvin – 36
Daniel Bender – 31
Norrine Smokey-Smith – 262
Aaron W. Smokey – 261
Mary Lou Medel – 148
Reno/Sparks Community Council
Roberta Jones – 20
Stewart Community Council:
Wanda E. Bachelor – 28
David L. Tom – 27
Darienne Tenorio – 18
Juanita Marie Thompson – 16
Woodords Community Council:
Mahlon Machado – 47
Beau Medicine Cow – 44
Josephine James – 43
Dinah Pete – 40
Edgar T. Dutchy – 39
M. Kevin Jones – 36
Adelina Osorio – 27
Althea M. Nichols – 25
Phillip Bennett – 23
Willard Bennett – 21
Dennis A. John – 14
Janice Bennett – 12
n R-C Staff Writer Regina Purcell can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com