Former Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph stands for a portrait in Dawson City in 2016. Joseph and fellow candidates Majida Lord and James Roberts all agreed to withdraw from the election earlier this spring in order to allow for a byelection to happen at a later date. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in schedule byelection for chief

The byelection to select the next Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in chief will happen on Aug. 6, according to a press release from the First Nation’s election committee on July 6.

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in held its general election on April 16, acclaiming a deputy chief and councillors. The three candidates for chief — Roberta Joseph, Majida Lord and James Roberts — agreed to withdraw their original nominations due to COVID-19 concerns so a byelection could be held at a future date.

“This will ensure that the election process can be conducted safely and allow all citizens to participate in the election process without any concerns,” said the joint statement from the candidates to the chief returning officer in March.

By withdrawing their original nominations, the election committee was obligated under the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Election Act to hold a second nomination day on April 6.

“The ex-candidates agreed in their joint letter not to submit new nomination forms for this second nomination day and also requested other citizens not submit any nomination forms,” said the press release, which would then force a byelection for the position at a future date when it was safe to do so.

On June 3, acclaimed councillors Ryan Peterson, Clara Van Bibber and Darren Bullen, as well as acclaimed deputy chief Simon Nagano, were sworn in as the 2020-2023 Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Council during a livestreamed event.

According to a press release on June 4, 2020 marks the first time the deputy chief position was chosen by citizens instead of being assigned amongst the councillors.

As specified by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Constitution, the deputy chief takes on “the powers and duties of the Chief” until the byelection is held.

The election period for the contested chief position begins July 9 with nominations closing on July 23 at 4:30 p.m. An elections office will be established at the Downtown Hotel Annex with nomination papers available. That office will be open noon to 1 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Polling day is Aug. 6 and there will be no advanced polling for the byelection.

Contact Crystal Schick at crystal.schick@yukon-news.com

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