OPINION: Voting, not only a right, but a responsibility
It had been 14 years and 81 days since I turned 18 years old. It had been that long since I became eligible to vote. I didn’t believe it mattered. I kept telling people one opinion would not make a difference.
That’s how I started the column I wrote that was published in our December 2008 issue. I had voted in the presidential election in November of that year for the first time in my life. I was 32 years old. Since my inaugural vote was cast more than 10 years ago, I have taken pride in voting and knowing that my voice was heard. I have voted in every tribal, city, state and national elections since.
Although I do not follow politics on a daily or even weekly basis, when it comes to election time, I do. I watch the local and national news, read news websites and newspapers. More importantly, I read as much information about the candidates that are running as I can. I read their mailers, website and social media pages. It’s my responsibility as an individual to know who and why I’m voting. This is true to local and state questions as well. Otherwise, my vote is wasted or cast to someone or something I shouldn’t have voted for or against.
This brings me to the upcoming Cherokee Nation chief, deputy chief and tribal council elections. These elections are just like city, state and national races. However, I feel tribal elections are more important because how the tribal government operates effects how it is able to serve its people.
With the filing period officially over, four candidates filed for principal chief, three candidates for deputy chief and 29 candidates have filed for eight council seats. Council seats up for grabs are from districts 1, 3, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14 and one At-Large. This year, a new principal and deputy chief will be elected and some council candidates are incumbents, some are new and some have previously served on the council. No matter the candidate, take the time to read and hear as much as you can about them so that you’re well informed. It is imperative on deciding for whom to vote. It is the right and responsibility of every eligible CN citizen to register to vote. Whether you’re at-large or live within the 14-county jurisdiction, cast your ballot.