When the votes were announced Saturday night for Thursday's Tlingit-Haida Juneau delegate election for the tribe's General Assembly in April, familiar names showed up on the top of the list.
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Cyril George, a past president of the Tlingit-Haida Community Council in Juneau, was the only candidate to get more votes than Ed Thomas, president of the Tlingit-Haida Central Council since 1984. Ethel Lund, a member of the Sealaska Board of Directors, was the third-leading vote-getter, according to the Central Council's Web site.
But one of the new Juneau delegates said it look like there will be a lot of new faces at the annual meeting. Dana Ruaro said that of the 119 delegates elected from San Francisco to Anchorage, she counted 36 new delegates elected.
What she found most impressive, though, was the energy of the election in Juneau. Nearly double the number of voters that typically show up at the polls, she said.
The 26 delegates
Unofficial results from Thursday's Tlingit-Haida election:
Cyril George Sr.
Sue Ann Lindoff
James Jack Sr.
Alfred McKinley Sr.
Ernest Hillman Jr.
Lisa Marie Lang
Frank O. Williams Jr.
Douglas K. Chilton
Source: Central Committee Web site
"The turnout was tremendous," she said. "Many elders said this was the first time ever that they had to wait in line to vote. We wanted to get people interested and out to vote and that certainly happened, even with voters having to brave the 10-degree temperatures and even harsher wind chill."
This year delegates will elect a president and six vice presidents. The Assembly also will conduct annual business and consider resolutions.
The campaign by Ruaro and 18 other candidates who pledged mutual support raised some questions in the last two weeks. Slips of papers that voters could have used to request absent ballots were questioned as a violation of tribal campaign rules. Candidates on the slate said they were looking to increase voter participation.
The Juneau Community Council voted March 10 to continue with Thursday's election. Thomas said at the meeting that it was made clear the election would be challenged.
According to the election-challenge rules posted on the Central Council Web site, any candidate for delegate the result in that community. The deadline for any challenges would be today at 4:30 p.m. If warranted, the Central Council could order a recount or a new election, open only to candidates who ran in the challenged election.
Of the 19 candidates that campaigned as a slate, 11 were elected, including George and Lund.
Tlingit-Haida tribal members from Juneau elect 26 of the delegates to the annual meeting. Juneau seats the highest number of delegates. After Seattle with 25, the only other community in double digits is Anchorage with 10.
Six Southeast Alaska communities with 11 delegates haven't yet posted their election results. Yakutat's election for two delegates won't be held until the end of March.
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