After a contentious summer, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe voted in a special election Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1,421 to 1,364 in favor of Donald "Mick" Finn as the new secretary/treasurer over his opponent, Donald "Donnie" Headbird.
The unofficial percentage is 51 percent for Finn and 49 percent for Headbird. If the results stand, Finn will replace former Secretary/Treasurer Michael Bongo, who was voted out of office Feb. 8. Finn won the first special election June 28 by six votes over Headbird: 1,104 or 50.14 percent for Finn and 1,098 or 49.86 for Headbird. Headbird subsequently contested the results, citing election irregularities.
On July 15, Leech Lake Band Election Judge Heidi Drobnick ruled the June 28 results invalid. Drobnick found that Headbird had proved violations, which, according to her ruling, changed who was the winning candidate. She ordered a new special election to be held in compliance with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Election Ordinance.
Finn appealed Drobnick's decision. On Aug. 4, a panel of judges upheld Drobnick's ruling, and a second special election was called.