Election day is coming close for Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN).
Votes will be cast on April 10 to determine PBCN’s next chief, as well as 14 positions on the band council and 12 spots on the band’s elders’ council.
Five candidates have entered the race for chief. Incumbent Peter Beatty of Deschambault Lake is joined by Karen Bird of Southend, Pelican Narrows’ Shavonne Custer, Jason Linklater of Prince Albert and Denare Beach’s Tom McDermott.
This year’s election will be different from previous band elections, according to PBCN head electoral officer Randy Clarke.
Clarke said polling stations have been organized for nine different communities, with several locations opening for advance polls and election day activity.
New for this year is electronic voting and an advanced voter database, designed to cut down on instances of people casting multiple ballots in different communities.
Clarke said reports of multiple voting have been made in the past.
“One of the complaints we always have is people voting in more than one place. We have about nine polling stations, that’s nine different communities,”
“We looked at a system where we monitor voters, exactly what time they vote and where they vote, so there’s no way of voting and driving to another community. They’re already in the program – they can’t pass that.”
A total of 63 candidates are running for band council, including four from Denare Beach, nine from Sandy Bay, 10 from Deschambault Lake and 23 from Pelican Narrows. Eight Sandy Bay residents, along with seven from Pelican Narrows and two people from Denare Beach, are running for elders’ council.
A series of candidate forums were held from March 25 to 31. All five candidates running for chief took questions from the public.
Polls will be open from 9 am to 8 pm on Tuesday, April 10. Near Flin Flon, voters can cast ballots at the DenarePlex in Denare Beach, the Sturgeon Landing School, the band administration board room in Sandy Bay and the gymnasiums at Wapanacak Elementary School in Pelican Narrows and Kimosom Pwatinahk Collegiate in Deschambault Lake.