TAHLEQUAH – Robin Mayes, an At-Large Tribal Council candidate in the Cherokee Nation’s June 5 general election, filed a legal appeal for a new election on the grounds the original was conducted under the wrong Constitution and related laws.
Mayes, of Denton, Texas, filed the appeal June 14 in the CN Supreme Court. He claims the election should be voided in part because candidates and voters “first received one election law then after the initial process and filing, the Election Commission enforced a different law.”
“The election law and Constitution disbursed to all candidates requesting a filing package included specified qualifications and in particular the ‘by blood’ requirement,” his Supreme Court appeal states.
In February, Mayes unsuccessfully challenged the eligibility of fellow At-Large candidate Marilyn Vann, a descendant of Cherokee Freedmen. His complaint stated that Vann “is not Cherokee by blood as required by the Constitution.”
Later in February, at the request of the attorney general’s office, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “by blood” language is void and should be removed from the tribe’s laws, including provisions within the tribal constitution. The decision was in response to the 2017 federal Cherokee Nation v. Nash case that determined that descendants of former Cherokee-owned slaves have full rights as CN citizens, including the right to run for elected office, based on the Treaty of 1866 with the U.S. government.
In addition to a new election, Mayes seeks the return of a $500 fee for filing as a candidate.
Mayes was one of eight At-Large candidates in the June 5 election. The top two vote getters, Johnny Jack Kidwell and Kyle Haskins, both of Tulsa, will face off in a July 24 runoff race.
Mayes secured 37 votes – 1.45% of the total – placing him sixth in the race.
The official challenge window closed with only the Mayes appeal.
“We’re just waiting on the courts to decide on the appeal that was submitted,” EC Administrator Marcus Fears said. “June 14 was the election appeals deadline and there was that small window for a recount. It came and went.”