Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 26, 2011

Carter Center observes CN election

Representatives from the organization will visit all 38 precincts, and plan to stay until all votes are tallied.

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation voters who cast ballots Saturday may have done so with more confidence, as a delegation from The Carter Center was on hand to observe procedures.

At the invitation of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, The Carter Center deployed a small delegation for the special election for principal chief. Over the past week, delegates have interviewed election commissioners, political contestants and others to assess the electoral process. On Saturday, members of the delegation were present for in-person voting, and will also observe during the vote tallying process which will take place after Oct. 8.

“The June election for Cherokee Nation principal chief and its aftermath created uncertainty about the process,” said Avery Davis-Roberts, assistant director of the Carter Center’s Democracy Program. “The Carter Center hopes that our mission to observe the special election will reassure Cherokee voters, and will help strengthen the efforts of the election commission, Tribal Council, political contestants, and civil society to ensure the integrity of future elections.”

Following the June 25 general election, several recounts, and an extended court battle, the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation ruled the election for principal chief invalid, due to the inability to determine the results between former Principal Chief Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker, a two-term tribal councilor.

The Carter Center previously observed the 1999 elections in the Cherokee Nation.

On Saturday, Gordon Streeb, head of the Carter Center delegation to the Cherokee Nation, said he expected the election to go well.

“There’s a sense that outside observers, especially as experienced as the Carter Center is at observing elections, that this instills a certain degree of confidence; that someone who is not at all engaged in any way in the local situation is looking at how the procedures are carried out during the day and how any kind of disputes are resolved,” said Streeb. “And, of course, normally we would like to be directly observing what’s happening with the vote counting, which we will have to now postpone for a while. But our basic purpose is to, based on our experience, really see how and to what degree the procedures are carried out.”

With regard to vote tallying, Streeb referred to the recent proposed federal court order requiring the CN to reinstate approximately 2,800 descendants of Freedmen and allow them to vote in the special election. The tribe’s Supreme Court stripped Freedmen of their citizenship on Aug. 21, and the group filed suit in federal court. In addition to voting on Saturday, the order requires the CNEC to provide two additional voting days prior to Oct. 8. The CNEC ruled last week Freedmen would be allowed to cast ballots at the election commission offices between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6.

All ballots cast in the special election will not be counted until after Saturday, Oct. 8, and are to be secured by the CNEC in its vault.

Streeb said he feels confident the ballots will remain secure.

“This is not the first time we’ve seen a situation in which votes have been sequestered for a length of time,” said Streeb. “We have to have some confidence in the security provided by the Cherokee Nation. We’re in no position to have someone sitting there until the tallying process begins. In my own experience, I put a lot of trust in the parties. If there’s any doubt about security, I would think the candidates would come together to provide for representatives to observe.”

According to Streeb, outside the two Cherokee Nation elections, the Carter Center’s  work is generally conducted outside the United States, observing international elections.

Text Only
Local News
  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Hepatitis.jpg Hepatitis vaccinations important today

    The phrase “back to school” may be disdained by kids for many reasons, including a trip to the doctor’s office to update immunizations.
    But hepatitis cases in Oklahoma provide a good example of why these vaccinations are important.
    “There was a time when Hepatitis A was just crazy in Oklahoma. The state was actually known for it,” said Becky Coffman, an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma Health Department’s Acute Disease Service.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • hood-raymond.jpg One man caught, another sought after foot chase

    Two people tried to escape sheriff’s deputies, and one was successful, after a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 62 last weekend.
    Deputy Bryan Qualls was on the highway when he noticed a red Chevrolet Avalanche matching the description of a truck that had been spotted at the scene of a recent burglary.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Detectives investigate deaths of two elderly residents

    Incident may be murder-suicide

    Tahlequah police detectives believe the deaths of two elderly Cherokee County residents are part of a murder-suicide that took place July 24-25.

    July 29, 2014

  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating