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Voter registration deadline nears for regular tribal election

The next regular Tribal election for Council and Board representatives will be held May 10. Residents of Big Cypress, Brighton, Immokalee, Hollywood, Fort Pierce and Tampa are eligible to vote if they are registered.

Anyone who moved from one reservation to another, or moved to a reservation from off of a reservation, must register again.

Ballots are specific to reservations, so it is important for voters to be registered at their current reservation address. Every eligible non-registered voter was sent an information packet in November explaining how to register. Some have not yet been returned. The deadline to register is March 1.

“We sent another flyer last month to remind people to call us to register,” said Naomi Wilson, Secretary’s supervisor of elections.

Tribal members must submit a tribal ID, state ID or driver’s license to register. All registrations will be done by mail since no one is allowed into tribal offices.

Wilson said they will send a new packet to anyone who wants to register and will accept all returned registration packets as long as they are postmarked by March 1.

Once the voter list is approved, a notice will go out for those who want to run for office. Candidate packets will be sent in late March.

To run for a seat on Tribal Council or the Board of Directors, potential candidates must meet certain criteria. Candidates must have been a full-time resident of the BC, Brighton or Hollywood reservation for four years, or, if a candidate has moved to another reservation, he or she must have lived there full-time for 10 months. All candidates must be 21 years or older before the election day.

The election is scheduled to include in-person voting, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, or voters may request absentee ballots. Once the slate of candidates is approved, absentee ballots will be sent out in late April.

The inauguration is traditionally held on the first Monday in June. This year the inauguration date will be June 7.

“People need to make sure they are registered,” Wilson said. “They need to register again if they have moved so they will get the correct ballot.”

To register to vote, call (954) 966-6300, ext. 11461 or (863) 763-4128, ext. 15482.

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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.
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