You are here
Home > Community > Immokalee seat on Tribal Council rejected by voters

Immokalee seat on Tribal Council rejected by voters

Supervisor of Elections Naomi Wilson, Tribal Secretary LaVonne Rose and Bureau of Indian Affairs government officer Sherry Lovin look over the ballots cast for the election for an additional seat on Tribal Council to represent the Immokalee community.
Supervisor of Elections Naomi Wilson, Tribal Secretary LaVonne Rose and Bureau of Indian Affairs government officer Sherry Lovin look over the ballots cast for the election for an additional seat on Tribal Council to represent the Immokalee community.

The voters have spoken and the makeup of Tribal Council will remain unchanged.

An election administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs ended April 12 with 258 votes cast. The tally was 176 against and 80 in favor of an amendment that would have given Immokalee a seat on the Council. Two votes were voided.

“The proposed amendment was defeated by a two-to-one margin, but there is expressed concern for some type of change,” Big Cypress Board Rep. Joe Frank said. “Council and others shouldn’t stop exploring other avenues of getting representation for Immokalee. The Tribe is growing and I don’t think it hurts to have more voices being heard. There is a strong sentiment there.”

After Tribal Council unanimously approved Immokalee’s request for an election during its Nov. 13, 2015 meeting, Tribal Secretary Lavonne Rose submitted the request to the Secretary of the Interior. The BIA approved the election on Jan. 6.

About 44 percent of those who registered for the election voted. The election was conducted exclusively through the U. S. Postal Service. Voters mailed ballots to a post office box in Hollywood. Supervisor of Elections Naomi Wilson and BIA tribal relations specialist Becky Smith retrieved the ballots after the noon deadline April 12.

“It looks like there are more than 175 in here,” Wilson said as she opened the box. The figure represented 30 percent of the 582 registered voters, which was required for the election to be valid.

Rose, Wilson, Smith and BIA Tribal government officer Sherry Lovin counted the ballots behind locked doors. The results were announced via an email blast to the Tribal community shortly thereafter.

“I didn’t expect it to pass, but I appreciate the votes in favor of us,” said Immokalee Board liaison Gale Boone. “Immokalee is small but proud. We will keep praying; this won’t be our last effort. The Immokalee community cares and has a vision of the Tribe as a family. We want to be part of the bigger family.”

Read Offline:
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
Top