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Judge Reopens Voting in Cherokee Race (Sep 27, 2011)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A federal judge has approved a compromise between the Cherokee Nation and the descendants of slaves once owned by its members that will allow more than 30,000 registered voters to cast ballots for tribal chief if they haven't already.

U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy on Tuesday backed agreements struck Monday between the tribe and the slave descendants after the tribe missed deadlines to inform the descendants they could vote in Saturday's election and to send some of them absentee ballots.

Tuesday's ruling adds five walk-in voting days. The last day is Oct. 8.

A large turnout could sway the special election, which the tribe's Supreme Court ordered after recounts flipped the results of a June election several times. The longtime chief and challenger were each declared the winner twice.

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