New Choctaw chief election ordered

Philadelphia, Mississippi (AP) July 2011

The Mississippi Choctaw Tribal Council voted to hold a new election for tribal chief after Chief Beasley Denson was defeated by Phyliss J. Anderson.

The action came after an unidentified person filed an appeal of the June 14 election. The council says a new election must be held within 30 days.

Anderson said in a statement that she was disappointed with the council’s decision.

The complaint says voters who were already in line were allowed to cast their votes after polls were set to close at 8 p.m. on June 14. The election commission allowed the votes, but the Tribal Council overturned that decision and ordered the new election.

Denson and Anderson advanced from the June 14 election, then Anderson defeated Denson in Tuesday’s runoff.

“This is simply an attempt to steal our election,” Anderson said. “The Choctaw voters elected a new Chief to lead our tribe and clean up the financial mess.” 

Anderson said the Tribal Election Commission initially reviewed two complaints submitted by tribal members and decided they were without merit.  The commission certified the June 14th and July 5th elections. 

She said the tribal members then appealed the election commission’s decision to the full council.  

Anderson said Denson cast a tie-breaking vote that brought about a new election.