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SENECA ELECTION DISPUTE ENDS

An election dispute on the Seneca Indian reservations ended Friday with the certification of judges elected Nov. 3.

The judges, who took office immediately after Canvass Day proceedings, are Surrogate Barbara Hemlock and Peacemakers Calvin Lay and Joyce Gates of the Cattaraugus Reservation and Surrogate Marine Black and Peacemaker Brenda Pierce of the Allegany Reservation.

They had been prevented from taking office after a Seneca peacemakers court, ruling that only reservation residents were eligible to vote, voided the November election and ordered a new one. The action was quickly challenged by grass-roots activists.

The matter was resolved under the Seneca constitution, which holds that the clerk and board of electors are responsible for overseeing elections, considering electoral challenges and conducting Canvass Day, Seneca Clerk Geraldine Huff said.

"Now that the elected judges are sworn in . . . business can continue in a legal manner without questions as to the validity of decisions made," she and the board said in a joint statement.

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