Primary Election is June 9 — Absentee Voting Encouraged


Absentee voting encouraged for safety during COVID-19 pandemic

The Mille Lacs Band Election office will remain open until Primary Election Day on June 9, 2020.

Band members are encouraged to vote early or by absentee ballot this year to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 infection, but polling places in all districts will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling places are community centers in Districts I, II, IIa, and III (Aazhoomog), and All Nations Church in Minneapolis for urban Band members.

The official ballot for the primary election was released February 20 by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Certified candidates who will be on the ballot for Chief Executive are Tania Aubid, Melanie Benjamin, Carolyn Beaulieu, Ronald Davis, Curtis Kalk, and Wanetta Thompson.

Certified candidates who will be on the ballot for District I Representative are Sandra Blake, Valerie Sam-Harrington, Nicolas Shaw, Ginger Weyaus, and Virgil Wind.

The general election will be held on August 18, 2020.

Staff will be in the election office at the District I Community Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. You can still stop by to vote early! Previous ballots that were submitted early will still count for the new election dates.

If you do need to vote at the polling place on June 9, please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer.

On March 24, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s Tribal Executive Committee (TEC) voted to postpone the tribal primary election until June 9 and the general election until August 18 due to coronavirus.

Secretary/Treasurer Sheldon Boyd and Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin voted against the change after Sheldon consulted with the Election Board members, who wanted the primary to go ahead as planned on March 31. ]

The TEC met March 24 by Zoom video-conference with the sole purpose of deciding how to handle the upcoming MCT elections in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All absentee ballots that have been cast already are still valid. The MCT is requiring that each Reservation Election Board store all ballots received under lock and key until the June 9 primary.

If you have questions or would like an absentee ballot request form, please call Deanna Sam at 320-532-7586 or 320-279-0178, or email Time is running out, so call right away!

If you request and receive an absentee ballot, but you are afraid it is not going to arrive back at the Election Office by June 9, you can bring the absentee ballot to the polling place on election day to have the absentee ballot voided and cast a regular walk-in ballot.

You can also bring the absentee ballot to the District I community center prior to June 9. Remember to bring your tribal ID.