EC confirms 2 Dist. 7 candidates, sets hearing for 3rd
Frankie Lee Duncan
TAHLEQUAH – At a Dec. 4 meeting, Election Commission officials confirmed the candidacies for two of the three men who filed to replace former Tribal Councilor Frankie Hargis as the Cherokee Nation’s Dist. 7 representative.
Commissioners confirmed Robert Eagle and Frankie Lee Duncan as candidates and scheduled a hearing regarding Canaan Duncan’s candidacy for 9 a.m. on Dec. 7 at the EC Office.
Canaan Duncan said CN citizens Robin Mayes and Tim Houseberg each challenged his candidacy but declined to comment on what grounds the challenges were made.
According to EC documents, both challenges claim Canaan Duncan is ineligible to run because he violated the tribe’s election law by becoming a candidate while employed at the CN.
The challenges claim that Canaan Duncan, while a CN employee, conducted campaigning activities before the Nov. 27-29 candidate filing period that caused him to exceed a $1,000 limit for fundraising.
According to a 2015 amendment to the CN election law, a candidate is defined as “a person who has raised and/or accepted in-kind contributions in excess of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or has filed and is qualified to run in an election to hold elective office in the Cherokee Nation…”
Administration officials said Canaan Duncan’s resignation letter was dated Nov. 28.
The challenges also claim Canaan Duncan’s employment within the secretary of state’s office gave him an unfair advantage.
“Further, Mr. Duncan was in a sensitive position within the Executive branch of the government. His prior knowledge of the election timeline which was drafted by the Attorney for the Principal Chief, Kaylyn Free, may have given him an unfair strategic advantage in planning his campaign,” Houseberg’s challenge states.
The timeline submitted to the EC by CN administration, called for a Dec. 29 election. The EC approved that timeline on Nov. 6, but the Tribal Council failed to pass it during a special meeting on Nov. 14 due to lack of quorum. Councilors later approved a timeline for the special election to be held on Jan. 5.
According to the special election timeline, if Canaan Duncan’s candidacy is not confirmed at the Dec. 7 hearing, then he can challenge the decision to the CN Supreme Court by Dec. 14. The court would then have Dec. 17-19 to hear the matter and rule on it.
The Dist. 7 seat became vacant after Hargis in November resigned to become the tribe’s new registrar. The EC had 90 days from her resignation to fill the Adair County-based seat, according to CN law.
Also at the Dec. 4 meeting, commissioners approved four voting precincts that would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 for voters to cast ballots. Those precincts are the Wilma P. Mankiller Clinic at Highways 51 and 59 in Stilwell, Lyons Switch Community Center at 463101 E 914 Road in Bunch, Westville School Cafeteria at 500 W. Chincapin in Westville and the NAOC Chewey Community Building at 61714 S 4645 Road in Watts.Click here
to read the challenge documents.Click here
to read the challenge documents.