The Acho Dene Koe First Nation (ADKFN) chief and council on Sunday announced they have postponed the First Nation’s forthcoming election for an additional six months.
The election set to happen in November will now occur in May 2021. This is the second time the current chief and council have postponed the election, an option currently allowed under federally introduced legislation governing First Nation elections during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That legislation lets Indigenous leaders retain their roles for up to an extra six months, with a potential extension for another six months. The intent is to allow elected leaders to focus on health and safety within their community.
ADKFN has now used both of its available extensions. The original election date was June 8.
“The current chief and council has identified the potential spread of Covid-19 as a serious and well-founded concern,” read a statement from the First Nation.
“Holding an election continues to pose a serious risk of the spread of … Covid-19 to candidates, Acho Dene Koe First Nations members, and the residents of Fort Liard.”
The First Nation stated that “generally, membership supports a postponement of the election.”
The exact date of the rearranged election must be announced before mid-April, at least 30 days before the election takes place.
ADKFN also announced the appointment of a new chief election returning officer, Mary Beckett, for the May election.