Tribal Government & News

Constitutional election set for March 14

01.29.2015 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Elections, Federal Government

Tribal voters will finally weigh in on two possible changes to the Tribal Constitution during a federal election set for Saturday, March 14.

Voters are being asked if they would like to institute term limits on future Tribal Council service and whether they would like to remove the Bureau of Indian Affair’s role regarding Tribal constitutional elections such as this one.

The BIA mailed voter registration packets with voter registration cards to all Tribal members of voting age on Jan. 13. Deadline to return the voter registration cards to the BIA’s Warm Springs Agency is no later than 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6.

Voter registration cards also can be hand-delivered to the Grand Ronde Election Board in the Member Services Office at the Governance Center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6.

Even though Tribal members might be registered to vote in Tribal elections, they have to separately register to vote in BIA-supervised constitutional elections.

The two amendments were originally scheduled to go before Tribal voters in June 2014, but irregularities that occurred in the BIA’s Siletz Agency Office caused Tribal Council to request that the BIA cancel the election. Now that the election is back on, the responsibility for overseeing it has been transferred to the BIA’s Warm Springs Agency.

The first proposed amendment would remove the BIA’s role regarding Tribal constitutional elections. Currently, the Tribe is required to have a federal election, Tribal members must specially register for such elections and even if approved by Tribal members, amendments need BIA approval before they become effective.

The second proposed amendment would establish term limits of three consecutive terms on future Tribal Council service. After three consecutive three-year terms, a Tribal Council member would have to take a year off before being eligible to run again and serve another three consecutive terms.

Term limits, if approved, would not be retroactive and would not affect current Tribal Council members who have already served three or more consecutive terms.

To change the Tribal Constitution, at least 30 percent of those registered to vote with the BIA must cast ballots and 66.7 percent – two-thirds -- of those voting must approve an amendment.

The timeline for the election includes:

  •        Feb. 9: The official proposed list of registered voters will be posted at various public locations and on the Tribe’s website,, for review.
  •        Feb. 19: End of dispute period for names on official registered voter list.
  •        Feb. 20: Ballots will be sent to registered voters.
  •        March 14: Election Day. Ballots must be received at the Grand Ronde Post Office no later than noon.

Election results will be posted on the front doors of the Grand Ronde Governance Center, Health and Wellness Center, Community Center, Education Building, Elders Activity Center and the Warm Springs Agency building, and on the Tribe’s website.

An educational session regarding the March 14 Tribal Constitution election will be held during the Sunday, March 1, General Council meeting held in the Tribal Community Center.

The educational session will followed the scheduled economic development presentation.

Tribal members who cannot attend the March 1 General Council meeting can e-mail questions about the two proposed amendments to Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Martin at

Remember: Deadline to register to vote in the election is Friday, Feb. 6.