Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA - The Cherokee Nation has announced the special election for Principal Chief will be September 24.
"That was the date recommended by the Election Commission to best allow our citizens to fully participate in the election," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. "The commission thought that gave enough time to notify our citizens of the dates important to the election, including a period of time for voters to request absentee ballots."
Citing the lack of ability to determine the June 25th election "with mathematical certainty or to certify a successful candidate for the Office of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation," the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court threw out the election results of the vote cast for Principal Chief.
Cherokee Nation law says that in such cases, a special election must be called by the Principal Chief "as soon as practical."
"I understand that the Cherokee people are ready to elect their Chief, and many feel they already have," Smith said. "But I also understand that they don't want to end up right back here again, with an election that was troubled by irregularities. This timeframe gives the Election Commission and the Tribal Council a chance to address those issues while still having an election quickly."
All citizens who were registered to vote in the general election will be eligible to vote in the special election. The election law ends voter registration for an election year on March 31 of that year, so voters who registered after the deadline will not be eligible to vote in the special election.
Registered, eligible voters who may not be able to vote in person at the special election can request an absentee ballot from August 1 through August 12. According to the election commission, all voters who requested an absentee ballot in the general and run-off elections will automatically be sent a ballot for the special election and will not need to request a ballot again.
"Working with Principal Chief Smith, we have been able to come up with a practical date for an election of Principal Chief," said Lloyd Cole, independent counsel for the Cherokee Nation Election Commission. "It is important that we let the voters know when they can cast their ballots for this election."
The term of the Principal Chief expires on August 14.
Deputy Chief-Elect Joe Crittenden will be sworn in that day and temporarily assume the duties of Principal Chief until a new chief is sworn in after the special election.
"We all want this election held as soon as possible so we can bring stability and certainty back to our government," Smith said. "Due to the time constraints we are under, the incoming Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden will temporarily be acting as Principal Chief. I met with Joe earlier this week and the Nation's employees are ready help him lead our Nation during the short time before the end of this election cycle."
posted August 1, 2011 10:15 am edt
Do you have a comment or picture about this? Share it!
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.