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Hart loses bid for re-election in special tribal election

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AKWESASNE - A St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council chief who appeared to have won re-election to his post in June before the results of that race were tossed by the tribe’s election commission was defeated in a special election held Saturday.

Unofficial results released Saturday night by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council show Beverly Cook finishing on top in the two candidate race, outpolling Hart by a 477-451 margin. Six ballots were voided, and 29 ballots were declared to be spoiled.

Mr. Hart had been the top vote getter in June with 436 votes followed by Ms. Cook, 366; Gary Cole, 109; and Gerald Laughing, 47.

Shelley Jacobs, who led the field in the race for sub chief in June, will retain her seat, leading the three-candidate field with 416 votes. Deborah Martin was the choice of 366 voters, and Andrew J. Cook rounded out the filed with 120 votes.

The Tribal Election Board conducted a review after a community member appealed the June election results, arguing eligible voters were found to be in possession of campaign paraphernalia at time they were casting their electoral votes.

“After reviewing the relevant evidence and the sworn testimonies of several community members, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Election Board was satisfied with the evidence provided,” the Election Board noted in a statement released on the tribal council website.

The board had ruled the results of the June election for chief and sub chief were invalid and had called for the special election that was held Saturday.

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