Acho Dene Koe First Nation holds election despite challenge from feds, but not everyone is pleased with the results

The election is being appealed by member who lost the race for chief.

By the time May rolled around, Jim Duntra was hoping he’d be the chief of Acho Dene Koe First Nation in Fort Liard, a small hamlet of about 600 people located in the N.W.T. near the border of British Columbia.

Instead, Duntra is appealing the election results.

“They’re making a decision for us for the future and we have no say about it. We need to get everyone back together. We haven’t had a public meeting for a year,” he told APTN News.

The community made headlines earlier this year over complaints the chief and council were delaying an election – and blaming the pandemic.

In April, a federal court judge ruled the Acho Dene Koe First Nation was wrong – and that an election could proceed.

The feds announced that it’s appealing that decision.

The Fort Liard election went ahead as scheduled on April 26 and according to preliminary results, Duntra was the runner up.

Incumbent Eugene Hope won – by three votes – 148 to 145.

As per election code, a recount was held.

Why is Duntra appealing?

“It was online and I got phone calls that it didn’t go through or work for them so I appealed it,” he said.

Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, voting was allowed online.

Duntra feels it didn’t work for many people.

Not so says the electoral officer.

“I checked it a number of times throughout the day to make sure there were people checking in and ballots being casting them and so on,” said Mary Becket, chief electoral officer. “We had quite a few people on the system.

“I did get a couple of calls of people saying they couldn’t vote but it turned out they were trying to vote after voting had closed after 8 p.m.”

APTN tried to speak with the chief and other elected officials but no one was willing to go on the record.

The final results will be announced May 6 with the new council being sworn in on May 25.

The appeal was filed with the federal government.

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