WINNEBAGO, Neb. | A historic election for the Winnebago Tribal Council could result in a significant shakeup in leadership for the Northeast Nebraska tribe.

Tribal members will head to the polls Tuesday to fill eight of the council's nine seats. Seven incumbents and nine challengers are competing in the 16-candidate field.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Blackhawk Community Center in Winnebago.

Tribal Council Chair Darla LaPointe, the only incumbent not on Tuesday's ballot, said the election marks the first time in council history where so many seats are being contested in the same election.

The tribe normally has a staggered election system, with three of the nine seats up for election each year. The unusual number of vacancies this year is a result of six council members resigning or being removed from office earlier this year in the wake of an audit that showed questionable tribal spending practices. The vacancies were filled by special election or appointment, with the new members assuming short terms so that the council can return to its regular staggered election cycle, said tribal attorney Danelle Smith.

The top three vote-getters Tuesday will win three-year terms. The two candidates with the next most votes will get two-year terms. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-place finishers will win one-year terms.

A Sept. 1 primary election eliminated three of the 19 candidates who filed for the seats.

The seven incumbents -- Vincent Bass, Brian Chamberlain, Gloria Jean Eagle, Victoria Kitcheyan, James Snow, Kenneth Mallory and James Louis LaRose -- and challengers Isaac B. Smith, Marian Holstein, Curtis St. Cyr, Frank White, Amy Painter, Peter Snowball Sr., Janet Bird, Kellie Snow and Eli Painter advanced to Tuesday's general election.

In the primary, the results were as follows: Smith, 235; Snow, 214; Kitcheyan, 193; Bass, 190; Mallory, 175; Chamberlain, 169; Holstein, 159; St. Cyr, 158; Frank White, 146; Amy Painter, 140; Snowball, Sr., 137; LaRose, 134; Bird, 131; Kellie Snow, 105; Eli Painter, 102; Eagle, 98; Thomas "Bomber" Snow, 68; Tyren Wolfe, 53; and Crystal "Kokitty" White, 50.

Thomas Snow, Wolfe and Crystal White did not advance to the general election.

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