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Cherokee Nation Commission Allows Freedmen to Vote (Sep 15, 2011)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation Election Commission has voted to allow descendants of tribal members' former black slaves to participate in the upcoming principal chief election.

Commission chairwoman Susan Plumb said in a statement following Wednesday's special meeting that any Cherokee freedmen registered to vote can cast a challenge or provisional ballot.

Plumb says if the tribe's Supreme Court decides the freedmen descendants can vote, the commission will be able to certify the election. If the court decides they can't, the commission will be able to preserve the results.

The meeting came after the federal government ordered the tribe to restore rights and benefits to about 2,800 freedmen descendants.

An Aug. 22 tribal court ruling reinstated a constitutional amendment that requires members to have a Cherokee ancestor listed on the Dawes Rolls.

In another matter, the tribe's attorney general said the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation should reconsider the decision that caused the ouster for the freedmen descendants.


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