MASHPEE WAMPANOAG TRIBAL COURT
Nellie Hicks Ramos,
Patricia Keliinui, 2009 Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Election Committee Chairman
1. Defendant failed to fully perform their duties as required by the Constitution under Art. IV, and Art. III, section 8, Election Ordinance, Section 1, requiring election records be kept and archived following an election.
2. Because of the Election Committee Chairman’s negligence, the voter list was never seen after the 2009 election, the ballot box was not properly secured, and there was evidence of tampering and the fact that pending voters, were allowed to vote illegally, has disqualified the election of February 8, 2009
3. As a result, the voter list/sign in sheet has never been produced in order to verify the results of the 2009 election, and the ballots and other election materials have disappeared.
4. Further, Nellie Hicks Ramos challenged the election results in a letter. Chairperson Keliinui failed to follow Election Ordinance procedures for resolution of an election dispute by allowing the Elders of the Tribe, a review, as dictated by the law. Because of the time constraints set out in the ordinance, the action of the Chairwoman amounts to substantial breach of the responsibility of her office.
THEREFORE, plaintiff(s) pray(s) for judgment against defendant as follows:
1. That the voter list, sign-in sheets, ballots, and all other election materials for the Mashpee Tribe February 8, 2009 election be produced in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements of the Election Ordinance Section 1, and that the voter participants be validated as eligible to participate in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal election.
DATED this 17th day of January, 2012.
Nellie Hicks Ramos
ELDER ASKS COURT FOR PROOF THAT CROMWELL ADMINISTRATION IS LEGAL
Mashpee Wampanoag Council Offices—Tribal Elder Nellie Hicks Ramos filed a complaint with the Tribal Court detailing Elections Chair Patricia Keliinui’s failure to deliver a clean election in February 2009. The complaint also outlines 8 constitutional violations under her watch alleging that the Cromwell Administration took charge of the tribe illegally.
After years of asking for investigations, voter sign in sheets, and a voter list that was believed to be loaded with illegal voters, the Cromwell Administration, has failed to produce the documents that would validate or disqualify the February 2009 election.
Hicks Ramos wants the Tribal Court to force Cromwell to produce the documents for review to prove that his ticket was duly elected. The Tribal Courts (one judge now, instead of 3) record of is dubious at best. The court waited over 15 months to respond to another clear cut election issue, allowing two elections to pass before rendering an opinion, not a ruling, for the administration.
Numerous procedural and legal violations occurred during the election allowing for voter fraud:
- Prior to the election, Keliinui released the voter list to the office manager, instead of keeping it in her possession. This allowed the voter sign-in sheet to be loaded with ineligible voters supporting the Cromwell ticket.
- Keliinui excluded the genealogists and membership officials from the Election Day process. These people could discern enrolled members from illegal voters on sight. This was standard procedure until her election in February 2009.
- The chaos of Election Day was fraught with the failure to execute the most basic emergency procedures to prevent voter fraud. With the onslaught of hundreds of new, unidentifiable voters, Keliinui failed to require workers to ask for identification of any kind.
- With an eligible voter list of approximately 725 voters, it is a virtual impossibility to have voter turnout of 600 voters when over 250 of those voters live beyond New York. The voter list was clearly padded with ineligible (people waiting to get on the rolls) members.
- Keliinui’s most significant violation was the rejection of the timely request filed by Hicks Ramos. The constitution does not allow her or the committee to act. It requires an Elders tribunal to make the decision. Keliinui resigned shortly thereafter.
- Cromwell certified his own election.
- All of these violations disqualify the Election for clear constitutional violations.
In December 2011, Bureau of Indian Affairs Attorney Michael R. Smith, Deputy Bureau Director of Field Operations was also updated and made aware of these and a long list of financial constitutional violations accompanied by a 6 page overview and 70 pages of backup. During two previous 2009 meetings with the BIA, Elders were told that constitutional violations would justify Bureau intervention. The tribe is in limbo status because it does not have land in trust meaning there is no legitimate legal authority to address tribal complaints accept the state and federal governments. This is the reason for requesting BIA intervention.
Simple solution: Let Patty Oakley look at the voter sign in sheet. She knows who was eligible to vote and who was not. All that’s needed is one ineligible voter to disqualify the 2009 election. Also, Yvonne’s suit filed with the contract judge also disqualifies the election by the judges’ own admission, because it allowed the shunned to vote, over ruling the membership committee. The judge rendered an opinion, not a ruling, which was worthless in terms of its authority. The Membership Committee has final authority according to the Mashpee Wampanoag Constitution, and they voted no.
Quite mess indeed. Too bad we’ve been ruled by an illegal authority all these years.