Secretarial Election FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Relating to the Upcoming Secretarial Election

Why is this upcoming election being called? 

The upcoming election is a Secretarial Election that is being called for the purpose of amending Article V, Section 2, of the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. The election was requested by the Tribal Council.

What is a Secretarial Election?

A Secretarial Election is a Federal election conducted by the Secretary of Interior under a Federal statute or tribal governing document, such as the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.  See 25 CFR § 81.4.

Why is the Department of the Interior running the election?

Article XVII, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana states:

This Constitution may be amended by a majority of the enrolled, qualified voters of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, voting in an election authorized for that purpose by the Secretary of the Interior or his authorized representative, provided that at least thirty percent (30%) of those entitled to vote shall cast ballots in such election. No amendment shall become effective until it is approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Such election shall be conducted pursuant to the Secretary’s regulations.

Accordingly, in order to amend the Constitution, an election authorized by the Secretary of Interior and conducted pursuant to the Secretary’s regulations must take place.

How is the Secretarial Election being funded?

Secretarial Elections are Federal elections and are federally funded.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.16(a).

What happens if the constitutional amendment is approved? 

If a majority of enrolled, qualified voters vote to adopt the proposed constitutional amendment, the Secretary will approve the amendment within forty-five days after the Secretarial Election, at which point the amended language will take effect.  See 25 U.S.C. § 5123(d).

What happens if the constitutional amendment is denied? 

The current language in Article V, Section 2, of the Constitution of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will remain unchanged.

Will members of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana be disenrolled if the constitutional amendment is adopted or denied?  

The Council has not taken a position on that question as they must wait for the outcome of the Secretarial Election to evaluate all available options in the best interest of the tribe.

How will votes be counted?

The Secretarial Election will be carried out by the Secretarial Election Board, composed of a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee and, at least, two tribal members.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.19(c).  Secretarial Elections are conducted entirely by mailout ballots.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.35.  All enrolled, qualified voters will receive a packet containing registration instructions and relevant information regarding the Secretarial Election.  See 25 C.F.R § 81.23, 81.35.  Eligible voters must register for the Secretarial Election in order to be able to vote.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.27.  All registered voters will then receive a mailout ballot, which will need to be sent and received by the deadline established by the Board.  After the deadline, the ballots will be counted under the supervision of the Board, both to determine the results of the vote and to determine whether total voter turnout was sufficient to meet the required 30% standard specified under the Constitution and Federal law.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.38.  The Board must then certify the results with all members of the Board present.  See 25 C.F.R. § 81.41.

Please feel free to contact a member of the Secretarial Election Committee if you have additional



Secretarial Election Committee

Robert Johnson Sr.                                                                  

(318) 308-6593                                                                        

Elyse Lopez

(318) 500-1783

Tony Pierite                                                                              

(318) 481-3390                                                                 

Patrick Lopez

(773) 242-0635

Babette Bordelon                                                                    

(318) 240-0946                                                                  

Richella Malveaux

(318) 359-1373