The fight for control of the Meskwaki tribe, and its lucrative casino, returns to the polling place today with both sides holding elections to select candidates for the leadership council. The polls opened at eight this morning at the tribal center for the group headed by Homer Bear Junior which wrested control from the previous council led by Alex Walker. The polls in a separate election held by Walker’s group will open at one p.m. Tom Jochum,a spokesman for the Homer Bear group, believes his group will gain the endorsement of the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (B-I-A) it needs to become legitimate. He says the Bureau of Indian Affairs has not said it will sanction this election, but unlike the Walker election, he says they haven’t said they won’t sanction it. Jochum says they’ve followed all the guidelines set down by the B-I-A, and are optimistic. He says if there’s a good turnout, and it can be shown the election went without a hitch, he says he feels there’s a good chance the B-I-A will recognize the results of the election. Jochum says turnout has been heavy this morning thus far, and they have poll watchers in from Des Moines to make sure everything is done fairly. He says it’s a group of election judges with no stake in the outcome and they’ve committed to make sure the election is run openly and fairly. Jochum says the polls will close at eight tonight and it will probably take an hour or so to count the ballots. This election of candidates is to be followed by the council general election on October 21st.
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