A street sign on Tsali Boulevard, written in English and in the Cherokee syllabary, in Cherokee, North Carolina. Photo: Chuck Coker
Law | Politics

Eastern Cherokee council complete after second round of voting for one seat

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has a complete council after a second round of voting took place for one disputed seat.

Incumbent Albert Rose won re-election on Tuesday to represent the Birdtown Community, The Smoky Mountain News reported. He defeated challenger Ashley Sessions by a 541 to 381 vote, The Cherokee One Feather wrote in a post on Facebook.

The outcome was far different than the one seen during the general election last month. According to the tally, which came after a recount, Sessions defeated Rose by 5 votes.

But the tribe's election board ordered a do-over, citing irregularities in early voting returns, The Smoky Mountain News reported. Both candidates lodged protests and the Eastern Cherokee Supreme Court eventually affirmed the run-off, The Cherokee One Feather reported.

Sessions was hoping to prevail again with Tuesday's vote -- an anti-incumbent mood had swept the general election, with most losing their seats. The Smoky Mountain News noted that most incumbents who supported the impeachment of former chief Patrick Lambert were voted out of office but that didn't appear to affect Rose.

"[I]t is a great honor for me to serve my community and the tribe for two more years," Rose wrote on Facebook after the run-off.

Tribal leaders have since issued calls for unity, The Cherokee One Feather reported. An inauguration ceremony for the council, minus the disputed Birdtown seat, took place on October 2.

"As our new Tribal Council takes the oath of office, they will commit to work hard for the betterment of all of our people and to serve our tribal nation in good faith,” Chief Richard Sneed said at the ceremony, The Cherokee One Feather reported.

Sneed, the tribe's former vice chief, was elevated to the chief's post after Lambert was ousted in May. Alan B. Ensley is now serving as vice chief.

Read More on the Story:
Runoff election overturns recount results in Cherokee (The Smoky Mountain News October 11, 2017)
Court upholds runoff in Cherokee (The Smoky Mountain News October 11, 2017)
Election Board orders runoff race in Birdtown; candidate files suit in Tribal Court (The Smoky Mountain News October 4, 2017)
Unity stressed by new Council following Inauguration (The Cherokee One Feather October 2, 2017)