Through the last several elections, one thing has been consistent in Quapaw Nation; the number of registered voters. However, that has not been the case for the number of votes being cast.
According to Frank Frazier, the Election Committee Chairman, the Election Committee was noticing a change in the month of July. During his report during the monthly Business Committee meeting, Frazier pointed out how vital it is for citizens to head to the polls.
“Since the General Council meeting, Roman’s example of having people stand up has helped with registered voters,” said Frazier. “As of July 14, we now have 1,668 registered voters.”
Every year there is what is commonly referred to as a “lull” when the Chairman position is not up for election. a range between 300-400 votes are cast during this time. For the year the Chairman position is newly elected or re-elected, that number often doubles.
“We’re still not having the turnout we would like,” continued Frazier. “This vote on July 22, is going to be groundbreaking for the tribe.”
in 2020, a total of 873 votes were cast. In 2022, a third of those votes were wiped away as only 621 votes were counted. Three special elections have taken place since, caused by resignation or a loss of a member, and in each of those elections, voting numbers dwindled.
July 8, saw a recall election that shifted gears and produced 441 votes, a 51% increase from the special election that took place just a few months prior. The general election peaked at 449 votes and saw the introduction of 16 amendments that were brought by the Constitution Committee.
The 16 amendments can be found on the Quapaw Nation’s website under the Government tab, [sub-tab] Sub Committees, [sub-tab] Constitution Committee.
Prior to the vote, the Constitution Committee also held two Zoom sessions on July 17, and July 20, to give Quapaw Nation citizens an opportunity to ask questions before the vote. During the July Business Committee meeting, Constitution Committee Chairman, Roman Kihega, said that the Constitution Committee is planning a new survey to help guide them in future amendments.
All 16 amendments passed by a large majority and are hopefully a step towards building a more secure future for Quapaw Nation.
The amendments can also be found at the end of this article.
When asked how she felt about the passing of the amendments, Chairwoman Wena Supernaw had this to say:
“On July 22, 2023, the Quapaw voters decided to pass and adopt all 16 amendments by a large majority. Not a single amendment vote was close. This is the largest change to our Governing Resolution in 20 years. Thank you to the Quapaw voters for a strong voter turnout and let us keep up this positive momentum.
Thank you to the Quapaw Nation Constitution Committee for your thought-leadership in offering the 16 proposed amendments to our Governing Resolution. After 3 full days last fall and winter, the Quapaw Indian Council deliberated and finalized the amendment language.
Now let us focus on implementing these necessary changes.”