There are 18 days left until the elections. No, not those elections. The elections for the Pechanga Tribal Council will be held on July 19th.
Since the passage of the Tribe’s Constitution and Bylaws, Tribal Council have been held on the 3rd Saturday of July in every even year. That being said, what makes the upcoming elections special is the fact that these elections are the first in several elections cycles in which over 100 Pechanga tribal members have not been disenrolled just prior to casting their ballot.
Just in case you forgot, in 2004, over 200 tribal members were disenrolled prior to the Constitutionally mandated elections. As a result, there was almost a complete over-haul of the Tribal Council and Chairman Macarro retained his seat.
In 2006, just prior to the elections, nearly 100 eligible voters were stripped of their tribal membership, and as a result, their right to participate in tribal elections was denied. The disenrollment of these members was especially egregious as the tribe had passed a law in 2005 barring future disenrollments.
Chairman Macarro and the Tribal Council saw the enactment of the law by the General Membership as a threat to their continued membership on the Council and unilaterally decided to direct the Enrollment Committee to proceed with disenrollment action.
Unlike previous elections, it appears that the 2008 Tribal Council elections will not be held under a cloud of suspicion. It also appears so far that the results of the elections may not be impacted by gross human and civil rights which deny 100’s of eligible voters from participating.
But, then again, there are still 18 days to go, and anything can happen.