Due to the covid outbreak in the Tłı̨chǫ region and containment order issued last week in Behchokǫ̀, the Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief election has been postponed until November 18th.
Gabrielle Mackenzie-Scott, the Registrar for the election, says after discussions with the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer, they have determined that it is not safe to conduct regular voting activities.
Mackenzie-Scott also says it is not safe for candidates to do in-person campaigning and that all exchanges amongst people, including paper exchanges, need to be avoided at this time.
“Safety of Tłı̨chǫ citizens and staff is of the utmost importance and it is not currently safe to proceed with election activities as planned,” she says.
Mackenzie-Scott says Tłı̨chǫ nomination and election laws sets out the voting opportunities and process that needs to be followed by the Registrar to conduct a fair vote.
“Due to current covid restrictions, it is not possible for the Registrar to conduct the vote in a way that will provide Tłı̨chǫ voters the fair and equal opportunities they need to cast their ballot for Grand Chief during this unprecedented time,” she adds.
The new poll dates are as follows: November 1st-5th: will be voting at the office of the registrar; November 8th will be the mobile poll; November 10th will be the advance poll; and November 18th will be election day.
Mail-In ballots that have already been issued will still be counted as planned by the Registrar.
Mackenzie-Scott says they will continue to receive requests for mail-in ballots by phone or email only, and once election activities can resume in October the mail-in ballots will be issued.
As of September 10th, the Registrar’s Office is closed to the public until further notice.
The three candidates for chief are Eddie Erasmus, Jackson Lafferty and incumbent Grand Chief George Mackenzie. The position of Grand Chief is elected to serve a four-year term.
Anyone with questions about the election can email [email protected] or call 867-669-0442.