During the Election Commission meeting on Sept. 13, Election Commissioner Martha Calico, right, holds up documentation of the final locations of precincts for the upcoming principal chief election to other EC commissioners. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CNEC to wait 48 hours to certify election results

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission gathered for their regular meeting on Sept. 13. In that meeting the commission selected a new chairperson and approved waiting 48 hours before certifying election results. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Cherokee Nation Election Commission gathered for their regular meeting on Sept. 13. In that meeting the commission selected a new chairperson and approved waiting 48 hours before certifying election results. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
09/14/2011 11:18 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Election Commission approved a motion at its Sept. 13 meeting that calls for the EC to wait 48 hours before certifying unofficial election results after ballot counting has ceased.

EC Commissioner Susan Plumb said she believes not only does the EC need additional ballot counters, but also a break between unofficial results and certified results.

“The goal is to have a result that would withstand any scrutiny,” Plumb said. “We can’t do super human work…we can come back in 24 hours and begin to canvass and certify and that’s not unusual. I don’t find anywhere that there’s an immediate certification requirement in any other election codes.”

The EC also approved entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Carter Center, which will observe the Sept. 24 election.

The Carter Center will deploy a small observation mission for the Sept. 24 special election for principal chief, according to a Sept. 14 news release from the center.

Carter Center observers will interview the election commission, political contestants, and others to assess the electoral process. In addition, the Center will observe early voting, as well as election day polling, counting, and tabulation processes.

“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 September special election will reassure Cherokee voters, and will help to strengthen the efforts of the election commission, Tribal Council, political contestants, and civil society to ensure the integrity of future elections.”

Commissioner Patsy Morton said the EC recently met with Carter Center officials, and the EC was very impressed with their background and abilities.

“The people that came were very intelligent and I think they’ll do a great job,” Morton said.

Other action taken at the meeting was the selection of Plumb as the EC chairperson.

Plumb was nominated by Morton and approved by the EC to hold the position that was vacated by former EC Commissioner Roger Johnson, who resigned in July.

“I told the rest of the commission an office was not something that I was seeking, but I would be willing to serve,” Plumb said. “I’m going to need everyone’s expertise and input and I hope to make the election commission more transparent and efficient.”

In old business, EC Attorney Lloyd Cole discussed the status of the Freedman issue and it’s effect on the upcoming election.

“I guess it’s no secret that there’s been a line drawn in the sand between the Cherokee Nation and the Federal government,” Cole said. “We’ve, unfortunately, got a dog in the fight because we’re sitting here waiting for people to tell us what to do. What happens in the court systems is going to impact us in this forthcoming election.”

Cole added that the hearing is Sept. 20, and it appears that the EC isn’t going to have much time to prepare for the decision.

Cole said he doesn’t know that a ruling will be issued that day but he suspects that U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy, who has been presiding over the federal case, is aware that the CN has an upcoming election. Cole said he hopes that Kennedy would have some kind of decision to be made on that day.

“I don’t know whether it makes any difference because they’ve already arbitrarily said ‘we don’t care what happens, we’re not recognizing your activities to disenfranchise the Freedman,’” Cole said.

The EC also approved the remaining precinct workers needed for the Sept. 24 election, and it also approved a change for the vault entry procedure used during the election process.

Plumb proposed amending the EC’s procedures that would require two signatures to enter the vault.

“I still would like for us to consider an amendment to our procedures that require during an election period that you require two signatures to enter the vault and a vault log that describes what the purpose of entering the vault was,” Plumb said. “I think it would help us to be very clear and that our actions were deliberate.”

Cole suggested that the EC not only incorporate the procedure changes during the counting processes, but also throughout the entire election itself including the time period set aside for recounts.

The EC discussed and approved the final locations of precincts for the Sept. 24 election.

Other items discussed included approving a request from the Chad Smith campaign requesting that its deposit for the “conditional recount” be returned. Cole said he thought the amount for the machine recount was $3,000.

“I researched that, I think it’s refundable,” Cole said. “We did not hold that recount. I looked at the statutes and if you don’t have the recount I don’t think that you are entitled to the deposit.”

The EC tabled the approval of the campaign financial reports and the absentee ballot counting procedure and possible hiring of additional counters. The EC plans to discuss the issues at its next meeting.

The EC also approved the dates of the special election for the District 2 council seat. Those specific dates are available here.

jami-custer@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
About the Author
Reporter

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
jami-murphy@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/24/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration is considering improvements on Highway 82 in Cherokee County that would begin near East Allen Road in Tahlequah and go north to near Gideon, according to reports. The meeting will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the University Center Ballroom at Northeastern State University. ODOT held a meeting in 2013 regarding the highway, and following that meeting the state performed studies on the corridor. ODOT officials said within that study they evaluated upgrading the existing highway. They plan to discuss their findings from the studies during the meeting. The meeting is open to the public and will be an open-house format. It will allow for some discussion with engineers and planners for the potential project. For more information, call Frank Roesler III at 405-521-2350 or email <a href="mailto: m-coordinator@odot.org">m-coordinator@odot.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/24/2015 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –The Cherokee Nation and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation NAHASDA Annual Performance Reports are readily available for the public to view and to make comments upon. The reports are available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Jan. 27 at the Cherokee FIRST department located in the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and in the lobby of the HACN office located at 1500 Hensley Drive in Tahlequah. <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=7G5FQptSBvE%3d&tabid=5274&portalid=0&mid=5878" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> the report.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
01/24/2015 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses officials said before work on any site to be developed can begin they must do due diligence with regards to pre-development steps. Currently, that is where CNB officials area at on the Cherokee Springs Plaza project. Since the project’s September announcement, CNB officials said they have done several “behind the scenes” tasks in preparation for construction. From September to December, CNB officials said they met with Tahlequah officials to review city permit requirements, located all existing utilities and completed some infrastructure planning. They also they developed and posted a request for proposal for civil engineering work, completed the land survey for the site, as well as competed an aerial topography of the site for elevations and civil engineering design work. CNB Executive Vice President Charles Garrett said CNB officials selected a civil engineer in November for master planning and design and are conducting a traffic impact study that’s required prior to roads being designed or built. CNB officials said they also began civil engineering design of utilities, roads and temporary storm water, as well as identified what parts of the land would be submitted for a trust application. “(CNB) Developed, posted and selected a geotechnical firm to do a soils investigation report that is required by civil engineering for the design of foundations, utility and roads,” Garrett said. “In January we will be drilling 56 borings throughout the site. With the soil borings taking place, we will have the information required to develop a grading plan and start turning dirt to develop Phase I of the site.” In September, Garret said the first phase was establishing the infrastructure that creates access and provides the necessary utilities and the “civil engineering” portion of the project that would consist of road construction and pad sites where potential businesses will be developed. The continuation of the project will include two other phases, one being the construction of a new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah that will include a resort hotel, convention center and golf clubhouse. The third phase will create a retail strip, centering along Grand Boulevard, which will enhance the pedestrian and shopper experience. Overall, it is anticipated 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use space will be developed at an estimated cost of $170 million, officials said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/23/2015 04:00 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board will be meeting via conference call at 9 a.m. CDT, February 6, 2015. To attend, please use the conference call information listed below. The meeting agenda is here. Dial-in: 866-210-1669 Entry code: 4331082 <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/1/8864_150205_EditorialBoard_Agenda.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> the meeting agenda.
BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter
01/22/2015 01:37 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Jan. 9, the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission approved a cutover plan that would allow Cherokee Nation Entertainment to operate its own simulcast signal through the tribe’s Will Rogers Downs Cherokee Casino. To operate the simulcasts, CNE previously contracted with the Oklahoma City-based Remington Park Dissemination Company. Simulcast is a simultaneous transmission of the same program on radio and television, or on two or more channels. The agreement between CNE and the Remington Park Dissemination Company was that Remington was to provide the off-track betting services at Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs and Cherokee Casino Sallisaw. “There was a decision on Remington’s part that they wanted to exit that agreement, and in order to transition the services that Remington has provided up to this point over to a new provider, which in this case is going to be a company that is created by CNE and ran through Will Rogers Downs,” Jamie Hummingbird, CNGC director, said. Hummingbird said the plan is to take what the Remington Park Dissemination Company had been previously offering in terms of signal, wagering and reporting and put that over onto the new CNE company, Will Rogers Downs Dissemination. “So it’s taking the services that were provided by one company, transitioning them over to another one and providing for all of the transitional services that are required, primarily the redemption of any outstanding wagering that have not been redeemed prior to going to a Remington system to a WRD system,” he said. Like the Remington Park Dissemination Company, Will Rogers Downs Dissemination will also be providing totalisator equipment that controls parimutuel betting. “Will Rogers Downs Dissemination will just simply be doing the exact same thing Remington Park would,” CNE Chief Operating Officer Mark Fulton said. “When they informed us that they would not be renewing the contract to provide those services our decision became ‘do we want to keep our facilities or parlors open at West Siloam or Sallisaw?’ and ‘yes we do.’’ Because CNE will no longer be contracting with the Remington Park Dissemination Company, Fulton said Cherokee Nation Businesses, which is CNE’s parent company, would save some costs but not a lot because it isn’t a heavy volume of business. “We don’t have a heavy volume of business that utilize that so it was probably more of an administrative burden to them (Remington Park Dissemination Company) then the revenue they were generating,” he said. Fulton added that the creation of Will Rogers Downs Dissemination would not need CNB board approval. “The operating agreement is executed and falls within the authorities that already exist. It’s not a new entity for large revenue generation or profitability,” he said. Plans to have Will Rogers Downs Dissemination running are expected to be in mid-February.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/21/2015 10:00 AM
AKINS, Okla. – A meeting regarding the proposed Plains & Eastern Company transmission power line that would run from western Oklahoma through the state into Arkansas to Memphis will be held at 6 p.m., Jan. 27 at the Akins Community Center (Baptist Church). The community building is located about 4 miles north of Sallisaw. Organizers said the meeting is to inform and answer questions regarding the direct current or DC power line that, if constructed, would carry power generated by windmills in western Oklahoma to Tennessee. On Jan. 12, the Tribal Council approved a resolution opposing the construction of the transmission power line. The council voted unanimously against the 750-mile transmission line and is particularly opposed to the line running through Sequoyah County and is concerned it would affect Trail of Tears sites in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Organizers plan to have maps, printed material, petitions and handouts available at the meeting. For more information, call 918-315-0214 or 918-776-4320.