Washoe election today
October 18, 2002
Allegations of election irregularities surround today’s Washoe Tribe election, including the race for chairman.
A candidate for the chairman seat and some members of the Tribe say the election is destined to result in another victory for incumbent Brian Wallace.
Candidate Benny Mills and Steve Wyatt of the Affiliated Obsidian Nation claim the tribe’s election department has hampered the entire election process by not distributing absentee ballots in time, giving candidates outdated mailing lists that have names of deceased tribal members, and not hosting a legal election.
Dorinda Caldera of the tribe’s election department said they will follow the law.
The election will be held at the Dresslerville Gym from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
Washoes will vote on community council representatives from Carson City, Dresslerville, Reno/Sparks, Stewart and Woodfords Washoe colonies, and for off-reservation representatives in addition to the chairman seat.
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Polling precincts are at the Dresslerville gym, the Carson City colony gym, the Stewart Community Center, the Woodfords fire house, and the Reno/Sparks multi-purpose room on Washoe colonies throughout Northern Nevada.
Caldera said the department will do the final vote tally today after 7 p.m. She did not know how many voters to expect.
As for the outdated mailing lists, Caldera said there could have been names of some deceased on the lists, but it is only because family members have failed to inform the tribe.
Wyatt, who recently requested Wallace step down from being one of four Native American grand marshals in the upcoming Nevada Day Parade, claims this year’s election is rigged.
“This is a big mish-mash,” Wyatt said. “Everyone on the reservation knows the election is lopsided to begin with. They will count the votes to ensure Wallace wins the seat.”
Wallace has been chairman for 12 years. Mills said there are numerous allegations of money mismanagement under Wallace’s direction.
Mills also said the irregularities in this year’s election, such as not getting absentee ballots to eligible voters, will soon prompt a lawsuit.
Wallace, who could not be reached for comment, has been embroiled in a controversy surrounding the Oct. 26 Nevada Day Parade in Carson City.
Virginia Nuvum, president of the Nevada Day Parade committee, said the AON is using the Nevada Day Parade to make a political statement, but its planned protest has no place in the festivities.
Nuvum rejected its request to ask Wallace to step down. Wyatt said his group will protest as planned.
“It is not our protest. It is the Indians protest,” he said.
Tribal leaders from area Northern and Southern Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe tribes were invited as grand marshals for the 2002 parade.
n R-C Staff Writer Regina Purcell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org