TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizens not registered to vote in the tribe’s elections had until March 31 to submit a registration form and become eligible to vote in the 2021 tribal elections, which begin with the June 5 general election.
The CN Election Commission is also encouraging voters who wish to vote absentee to apply for a ballot. The forms can be downloaded from https://cherokee.org/elections. Voter registration applications can also be requested by email at email@example.com, by phone at 918-458-5899 or 1-800-353-2895, or by fax at 918-458-6101. Citizens can also visit the EC office, south of Tahlequah at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave. on the north end of the Tribal Complex, to request a form.
If an absentee ballot is requested and not received, call the EC.
To register, a citizen must be at least 18 years of age. Those age 17 who will turn 18 before the date of the general election are eligible to register. Those voters registering for the first time and living within the CN jurisdiction will be issued a Precinct Voter ID Card. At-large voters do not receive precinct cards.
Those wishing to vote by absentee ballot have until April 16 to submit applications. At-large voting must be done with absentee ballots, or at-large voters must visit the EC office and fill out ballots during the early voting period, May 29 and June 1-3 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. During early voting, a personal delivery box for absentee ballots will be available inside the Election Commission office.
The EC will send absentee ballots April 27-28. Those who request absentee ballots are eligible to request ballots for any applicable runoff elections that may follow.
Voters living within the CN jurisdiction must vote at polling sites within their respective districts. An exception is that citizens under the age of 25, having registered for the first time and living outside the CN’s 14 counties, may choose a district and precinct at which to vote.
CN citizens who have never voted in a tribal election, or are not registered in their current district of residence, and those needing to change registration information, must have submitted new voter registration forms by the March 31 deadline.
A common question received by the EC concerns whether possession of a tribal citizenship card, or “blue card,” is sufficient to qualify as a registered voter. The commission reminds citizens that they must be registered as voters and will not be allowed to cast ballots only by proving tribal citizenship.
Citizens who are uncertain of their registration status can contact the EC to find out whether their registration information is current.
Those voters who use P.O. boxes or have rural route addresses will need to provide driving directions to their homes to ensure determination of the district of residence. CN citizens who have felony convictions are not prohibited from voting in tribal elections.
In-person voting is on Election Day, June 5, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Any voter in line by 7 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot. The EC suggests voters bring their voter ID cards to the polls.
An EC release states: “Your voter identification card can help precinct officials find your name in the Precinct Signature Book, and it may also help them resolve the problem if you are not listed in the Precinct Signature Book.”
The EC also suggests voters fill out a “challenged ballot” if the voter’s name is not in the book or the voter disagrees with the information in the PSB. A challenged ballot can still be counted if a voter’s information can be verified by the EC.