The Cherokee Nation Election Commission decided Tuesday morning to delay filling a vacancy created by the resignation of former Chairman Roger Johnson. The EC opted to instead wait until after tribe’s attorney general issues opinions on the upcoming special election for principal chief, and a rules committee and special tribal council meeting have been held over the next two weeks.
Three of the four commissioners – Patsy Eads-Morton, Brenda Walker and Curtis Rohr – met with commission attorney Lloyd Cole Tuesday. Martha Calico was absent, but only three commissioners are needed to make a quorum.
Legal questions currently before Attorney General Diane Hammons include whether the campaign contributions cap will reset when a new election is scheduled. Campaign donations cap out at $5,000 per individual donor, and both incumbent Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker have taken in a number of maximum donations.
The second question before the AG is whether voter applications received after the March 31 deadline will be processed. According to the election commission staff, approximately 3,000 applications are awaiting processing and were filed after the deadline.
Finally, the AG has been asked for an opinion on the citizen relinquishment act. During court proceedings, Smith’s attorneys pointed out many citizens may have relinquished citizenship but may have been allowed to vote.