The Cherokee Nation Election Commission voted Wednesday night to allow previously registered freedmen voters to cast challenge ballots in the upcoming principal chief’s election.
“The purpose of the challenge ballot is that it allows us to be prepared for any possible court decision on the issue,” Election Commission chairwoman Susan Plumb said. “If a court decides the freedmen descendants can vote, we will have the ability to certify the election. If the court decides they cannot vote, we will still be able to preserve the election.”
The election is scheduled for Sept. 24. Plumb and the other commissioners reiterated their desire to not change that date.
“It is this commission’s intent to do its best to make sure firstly, that an election is in fact held on Sept. 24 and secondly, that the election commission be prepared to encounter one of several outcomes that could result at the hearing in Washington D.C. on Sept. 20,” Plumb said as the commission returned from a 90-minute executive session.
Tuesday’s hearing is in federal district court concerning an injunction request filed by the freedmen descendants that, if granted would prohibit the tribe from denying the freedmen citizenship or having any elections in which they cannot legally vote.
The five-member commission also voted to authorize Automated Election Services from Rio Rancho, N.M., to send expedited challenge absentee ballots to previously registered freedmen voters who had requested one prior to an Aug. 22 Cherokee Supreme Court order that terminated the citizenship of about 2,800 freedmen descendants. Absentee ballots were mailed out Aug. 29 and 30 and are due to the election commission by Sept. 24.
Full Article: Cherokee Election Commission says Freedmen can vote.