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Cherokee Nation Makes Deal Allowing Freedman Vote (Sep 20, 2011)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Just as a federal judge was about to get involved, the Cherokee Nation has reached an agreement to allow descendants of slaves once owned by the Oklahoma tribe's members to vote for its principal chief.

Attorneys for the slave descendants, called freedmen, said the agreement calls for extending balloting for this Saturday's special election until Oct. 8 so that those qualified to vote can be notified and participate.

The agreement came after a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Washington, where U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy was poised to deliver his ruling on whether Saturday's election could continue without the freedman participation. Attorneys asked the judge for a recess to negotiate and eventually announced their deal.

Kennedy gave them until 10 a.m. Wednesday to submit a written agreement.

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