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Caucus committee selected; voter registration cards to be issued after Sept. 10

Scott Csernyik

8/2/2001 12:00:00 AM

A caucus committee has been selected by Tribal Council as part of the process for the Nov. 6 general election which will also include the implementation of Saginaw Chippewa voter registration cards.

Joe Sowmick, Angela Trofatter, Teresa Jackson, Alexis Pelcher and Michelle Dayson were appointed to the committee in a July 2 special meeting. Sowmick will serve as the committee's chairperson. Eugene Walraven was chosen as first alternate with Delores Jackson as the second.

Tribal members have until Sept. 10 to become registered voters for the primary election and Oct. 5 for the general election. Nominating petitions will be available at the Tribal Clerk's Office on Aug. 15.

Tribal Clerk Terri Rueckert said the membership would be reminded in a direct mailing of voting requirements pursuant to Ordinance No. 4 and other eligibility standards designed to insulate members from voting for candidates outside the district in which they physically reside.

Current Tribal identification cards list a mailing address, as well as a physical address. The new voter registration cards will only list a physical address. Before being allowed to vote, members will need to present this voter registration card and a state driver's license or state identification card in order to prove eligibility.

"The Tribal ID card will not be considered a valid second piece of identification," Rueckert stated. "The idea is to have matching addresses. It's the responsibility of every Tribal member to make sure they are correctly registered to vote."

Members will not have to come to the Tribal Clerk's Office in person for a new picture on the voter registration cards as the computerized images for the Tribal identification card are already on file. Rueckert also added the voter registration cards will be disbursed after the Sept. 10 voter registration deadline.

The Tribal voter registration card process is part of an electoral philosophy officials started to explore last year when there was a special election for one Tribal Council seat in District 1. Sowmick, who also served as the caucus committee chairperson for that Dec. 18 election, said the intention was to have all Tribal members become registered voters.

"We're encouraging all Tribal members to become registered voters before the Tribe's next general election slated for Nov. 6, 2001," he stated in a Nov. 16 Tribal Observer article.

Since that time, the goal hasn't changed, according to Sowmick. He said in order for the democratic process to work, it is imperative for there to be as much voter input from the membership as possible.

"In previous Tribal elections, we've seen where one vote can make a difference," he told the Observer on July 16. "And that one vote could be yours."

Members with questions about the regular election process can contact the Tribal Clerk's Office at (989) 775-4054.