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Oklahoma's Cherokee Nation to hold election on June 25

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June 20, 2011

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma: The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma lies across fourteen counties in the state and will hold elections this coming Saturday, June 25. There will be ten positions that will be elected; the office of Principal Chief, the Deputy Chief and Eight seats on the tribal council. Along with these elections, residents will also vote on three referendum measures; the first measure seeks to eliminate term limits for those serving on the tribal council and the second seeks to eliminate term limits for the Principal and Deputy Chief positions. Current, these positions are limited to two, four year terms. The third question to be asked will be if a special election can be held to fill a vacant seat on the tribal council if the member who left has more than one year left in their term. The current procedure to fill a vacant seat is to allow the candidate who received the second most votes in the previous election to fill the seat.[1]

Those against term limits for council members and the chiefs note that the population of the Cherokee Nation is small so finding new people to fill seats once a term limit is reached is not always an easy task. Also, those that have been in the position for the two terms lead to greater leadership skills. But those in favor of the term limits note that without the limit then there is less accountability of members. They also allow for further competition and stop people from becoming career politicians. All three measures being voted on would amend the Cherokee Nation Constitution.[2]

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