*press release from MBCI*
CHOCTAW, Miss. – (Thursday, June 8) The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians held an election for Tribal Chief and eight Tribal Council positions in seven of the eight Tribal communities. On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, an estimated 3,000 registered voters went to the polls to cast their vote. For the first time in Tribal history, an electronic voting system was used to tally votes. The Tribal Election Committee opened absentee ballots on Wednesday, June 7, then distributed the Official Election Results on Thursday, June 8.
Incumbent Cyrus Ben won re–election with 1997 or 61.6% of the vote. A percentage majority, 50% plus 1, is required for the Tribal Chief seat. Phyliss Anderson, who held the position of Tribal Chief from 2011 until 2019, came in second with 1096 votes. Tarina K. Anderson received 149 votes.
“I am humbled by the overwhelming support from the Tribal voters,” said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben. “I love my Tribe. From day one my main promise was to work hard moving our Tribe in the right direction. I have fulfilled this promise and will continue to do so. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” We have done a great deal of work over the past four years, through the Pandemic and multiple states of emergencies, and I am honored the voters saw that and chose to allow me to stay in this position. For as long as the people see fit, and even after, I will work tirelessly for this Tribe. I’ve never hit the brakes since I took oath in 2019 and have no plan to slow down. There is more for us to do. Again, I thank all those that supported me. It’s time to come together as a Tribe and keep moving forward in the right direction.”
Tribal Council positions are won by a majority count, even if the winner does not receive more than half of the votes cast, and an individual can win by just one vote. After absentee ballots were counted, the Tribal Council outcomes are as follows:
• In Bogue Chitto (Neshoba/Kemper Counties) incumbent Ronnie Henry, Sr. won his seat with 316
out of a total 455 votes.
• In Bogue Homa (Jones County) challenger Berdie M. Steve unseated incumbent Michael Briscoe
by just three votes, 58 to 55.
• In Conehatta (Newton County) incumbent Timothy Thomas, Sr. retained his seat with a final
count of 115 votes.
• In Pearl River (Neshoba County) 20 candidates vied for one seat with incumbent Nigel Gibson
winning with 229 votes.
• In Red Water (Leake County) two seats were up for grabs amongst 11 candidates. Ricky
Anderson, Sr. and Samuel John won with 139 and 113, respectively.
• In Standing Pine (Leake County) incumbent Richard Sockey won his race with 143 votes.
• In Tucker (Neshoba County) challenger Dorothy Bell Wilson won with 124 votes againstincumbent Wilma Simpson–McMillan (122 votes).
The next Tribal Election will be the “mid–terms” in June 2025 where the other nine Tribal Council positions will be up for election.