Opinion: Election mess at Eastern Cherokee

"Running elections is a key to self-governance and a demonstration of tribal sovereignty. However there are those who argue against tribal sovereignty, and pointing to irresponsibility or incompetence in governance often is used to boost their arguments. That’s why it’s so important that the Eastern Band of Cherokee straighten out its election mess and take measures to prevent it in the future.

The tribe still uses marked ballots to be scanned, and as the results of a recount between Principal Chief Michell Hicks and challenger Patrick Lambert showed votes not scanned, the method has proven to be flawed right here at home.

The most disturbing aspect to result from this election has been the mess in the Wolfetown precinct, whereby voters who were able to vote in the primary found themselves moved to other communities by the tribal Board of Elections. Some of those voters had resided in Wolfetown for years. While it may be arguable whether it may not have altered the chief’s election (despite many frustrated voters deciding not to vote), it may have impacted the results of the Tribal Council race, in which the difference between Council member-elect Susan Toineeta and failed third-place candidate Dwayne “Tuff” Jackson was slim.

The result was several angry Wolfetown voters, some claiming disenfranchisement, and additional stress for Wolfetown candidates and possibly chief and vice chief candidates."

Get the Story:
Joseph Martin: Cherokee have work to do on elections (The Asheville Citizen-Times 9/20)

Another Story:
Clerk says new vote needed (The Asheville Citizen-Times 9/20)

Relevant Links:
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians - http://www.cherokee-nc.com
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, site 2 - http://www.nc-cherokee.com
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, unofficial - http://www.easternband.com

Related Stories:
Eastern Cherokee election results challenged (09/10)
Eastern Cherokee Band re-elects incumbents (9/7)
Eastern Cherokees head to polls on Thursday (9/4)
Eastern Band candidates debate as election nears (8/8)