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Cherokee Nation Voting, Again, for Principal Chief (Sep 23, 2011)

Voters in the Cherokee Nation are returning to the polls Saturday for a second time to decide on who will lead the tribe’s some 300-thousand members. But it will be at least next month before the ballots will be counted.

The new election was needed after the tribe’s Supreme Court ruled results from the first round of voting this summer were too close to call. Under the terms of an agreement between the Cherokee Nation and descendants of former slaves held by tribal members, called freedmen, the election commission will not be able to count votes until Oct. 8.

That’s the last day descendants of the freedmen can cast their ballots. All other Cherokees have to vote Saturday. The Cherokee Election Commission has set aside two additional days for the nearly 900 freedmen descendants registered to cast ballots in the first election to vote again.

Former Principal Chief Chad Smith faces tribal council member Bill John Baker after they were each declared the winner twice as the tribe counted and re-counted the more than 15-thousand votes cast in June.


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