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Irregularities hold up Yankton Sioux Tribe’s primary results

WAGNER –– The Yankton Sioux Tribe’s Primary Elections were held on Friday, July 29. As is the case in many elections, this tribal election could not be certified despite vote counters staying up until the next morning counting votes.

Social media was abuzz waiting for the results as tribal members, invested families of candidates and various stakeholders waited for results.

According to the Chairperson of the Yankton Sioux Tribe Election Board, Deanna Stands, these counts are still done the “old fashion way” of physically counting every ballot. YST does not have electronic voting systems currently. This is a change Stands would like to see in the future.

In an email sent to Native Sun News Today, Chairperson Stands wanted to clarify some of the information surrounding the primary elections and the unofficial results. The following statement was provided to NSNT:

The Yankton Sioux Tribe’s primary election is not quite official yet. One recount for one position and two protests have been filed. Saturday, July 29th was the deadline for filing any such recount requests or protests. These matters will be taken care of by the Election Board by noon Wednesday, August 2nd. The Primary election results will be officially certified on Tuesday, August 8.

The election results do show the total number of “Not/Voting/Spoiled” and that has some people wondering.

For the At-Large Committee members, voters could choose to mark up to five candidates. If, however, a voter only chose to mark say, one box, then that meant that four votes would be assigned to the “Not Voting/Spoiled” line. Six votes or more or marks made that were not acceptable (i.e., scribbling out and then circling) would spoil that section of the ballot and five votes would be put on the “Not Voting/Spoiled” line.

According to members of the Election Board, “The total number of votes possible, then for the At-Large Committee members. There was also never a total votes count for this section. Nobody protested that back then. It is a rare ballot that is totally spoiled. Several people voluntarily brought up their ballots in this election to get a new one for whatever reason. We do not look at it. We tear it up and mark it “Spoiled”. That ballot is then added in at the end so all ballots are accounted for. We are just trying to show that all votes count and are important.”

The Yankton Sioux general election will be Thursday, September 7th.

(Contact Native Sun News Today Correspondent Richie Richards at

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