Failing to make quorum, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council did not take action on potential amendments to the tribe’s election code at a special meeting Friday afternoon.
Twenty minutes before the meeting’s scheduled 3 p.m. start time, principal chief candidate and Tribal Council member Bill John Baker, along with councilors Tina Glory-Jordan of Hulbert, Okla., Chuck Hoskin Jr., of Vinita, Okla., Jodie Fishinghawk from Stilwell, Okla., and Curtis Snell from Rose, Okla., issued a statement through Baker’s campaign that they would not be attending the special council. The five called the meeting illegal due to the presence of proposed election law amendments on the agenda that had not been vetted by the council’s rules committee.
“The Tribal Council rules are crystal clear that an issue cannot be addressed by the council unless it has first been considered and passed out of a council committee, “ Baker said in the statement.
Council member and deputy chief-elect S. Joe Crittenden of Stilwell, Okla., issued a similar statement 10 minutes later.
“My lack of attendance today is the only way I am able to ensure that our constitution is not violated, future Tribal Councils are not weakened, and our current election laws remain in place until the election for principal chief is complete on Sept. 24,” Crittenden said in a statement.
The proposed amendments, authored by Cara Cowan Watts, would codify a July 12 request from the Tribal Council for the Election Commission to bring in a third-party organization to observe the new principal chief’s election.
The proposal would be also require voters to show identification when arriving to vote, such as a driver’s license, citizenship card, voter registration card or other identification specified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission.
At-large voters, who are currently limited to voting either via absentee ballot or early in-person voting at the election commission, would be allowed to cast a challenge ballot at any of the 38 precincts across the tribe’s 14 counties. As long as the voter has not already voted, his or her challenge ballot would be counted.
Additionally, the proposal would also bar anyone who is not a Cherokee Nation marshal, a poll worker, an Election Commission employee or an active voter from loitering within 300 feet of polling places on Election day.
Full Article: Cherokee Councilors boycott special meeting.