All registered Cherokee voters will be permitted to cast their vote in a special election for principal chief during five open voting dates as a result of a new federal court ruling. Those dates are Sept. 29, Oct. 1, 4, 6 and 8. Voting must be done on a walk-in basis at the Cherokee Nation Election Commission office in Tahlequah.
During a Sept. 23 telephone hearing requested by both U.S. attorneys and Freedmen attorneys to discuss a complaint filed last week by Freedmen attorneys, a compromise was reached to allow all registered Cherokee voters to vote.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ruled on the complaint made by attorneys for Cherokee Freedmen descendants last week. The complaint alleged the tribes’ election commission did not comply with certain aspects of ruling made by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Sept. 21.
On Sept. 21, the court ordered all registered Cherokee Freedmen voters be notified by a letter sent via overnight mail no later than Sept. 21 that they are once again CN citizens and would be entitled to vote Sept. 24 on a walk-in basis at the election commission office and during at least two additional designated dates between Sept. 24 and Oct. 8 or by absentee ballot.
In a statement issued today, Acting Principal Chief Joe Crittenden said “a technical error” caused the CN not to “fully comply” with the Sept. 21 order.
He added the CN sent the letter by overnight mail on Sept. 22 once the technical difficulties were resolved.
“However, the plaintiffs sought additional relief in light of the fact that the Cherokee Nation did not comply with the order by sending the letters out on time,” Crittenden said.