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Cherokee Nation starts sending provisional ballots to Freedmen

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has started sending absentee ballots to Freedmen descendants for the September 24 election for principal chief.

The tribe's election commission says about 350 ballots were mailed to Freedmen descendants who registered to vote this year. Another 900 Freedmen descendants can vote in person using provisional ballots.

“Regardless of what’s going on, I am going to the polls and vote,” Edgar McNac, who is a Freedmen descendant, told The Muskogee Phoenix. “There are a lot of people who think different, but I would hope they will vote, too.”

In total, 1,233 Freedmen descendant voted in the first election for chief. Their votes are enough to sway the close race between incumbent Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker.

Fewer than 300 votes separated the two candidates in the first election, which was held in June. The results, however, were thrown out due to uncertainties.

Get the Story:
Cherokee freedmen to get absentee ballots for chief's election (The Tulsa World 9/16)
Cherokees to spend up to $12.7K on ballots for freedmen (The Muskogee Phoenix 9/15)
Tribe reconsiders Freedmen issue (The Tahlequah Daily Press 9/15)

Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Cherokee Nation Registrar v. Nash (August 22, 2011)

Related Stories:
Steve Russell: The circus that has become the Cherokee Nation (9/15)
Cherokee Nation to allow Freedmen to cast provisional ballots (9/15)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation faces pressure on fate of Freedmen (9/15)
Acting Cherokee Nation chief vows to protect tribe's interests (9/14)
BIA warns Cherokee Nation about disenrollment of Freedmen (9/13)
Lawmakers want HUD to restore funding to Cherokee Nation (9/12)
HUD won't release funds to Cherokee Nation in Freedmen flap (9/8)
Judge sets hearing on Freedmen motion for Cherokee election (9/6)
Freedmen eye lawsuit in federal court over Cherokee election (8/30)
Freedmen seek appeal for loss of Cherokee Nation citizenship (8/29)
Jay Tavare: Divide and conquer -- disenrollment among tribes (8/25)
Turtle Talk: Tribal courts, treaty rights and treaty rights disputes (8/25)
Cherokee Freedmen lose right to vote in upcoming chief election (8/24)
Decision allows Cherokee Nation to remove Freedmen from rolls (8/23)

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