Ballot requests pour into election office

Absentee ballot request forms for the Cherokee Nation’s June 3 General Election are available through several different methods, including online, email and in-person. 

TAHLEQUAH – As the Cherokee Nation’s election season gets underway, the election office has – to no one’s surprise – seen increased interaction with the public.

“As expected, we experienced a drastic spike in calls and emails both, submitting and requesting absentee ballot request forms,” Election Commission Administrator Marcus Fears told commissioners during their monthly meeting on Jan. 10.

The June 3 General Election absentee ballot request form, which became available Jan. 1, is on the EC’s website at election.cherokee.org for download and can also be requested via standard mail to Cherokee Nation Election Commission, Post Office Box 1188, Tahlequah, OK 74465-1188.

In addition, requests can be made via email at election-commission@cherokee.org and by calling the election office at either 918-458-5899 or 800-353-2895. Request forms are also available at the commission office located at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah.

While no documentation is necessary to request an absentee ballot, CN citizens will be asked for a citizenship number, name, address, phone number and other basic information.

At-large voting must be conducted with absentee ballots or by visiting the EC office during the early voting period, May 27, 30-31 and June 1. The absentee ballot request deadline is April 10. They will be mailed out April 25-26.

The June 3 ballot will include principal chief, deputy chief and eight of 17 Tribal Council seats, all of which are four-year terms. The districts include 1, 3, 6, 8, 12, 13 and 14, along with one of the council’s two at-large positions. The official candidate filing period is between 8 a.m. Feb. 6 and 5 p.m. Feb. 9. Election hopefuls must file their declaration of candidacy in person at the Election Commission Office.

There are currently 74,629 registered Cherokee Nation voters, more than half of whom live within the reservation that spans six full and eight partial counties in northeast Oklahoma. During the last chief’s election in 2019, there were 72,781 registered voters. At the time, a total of 13,870 voters cast ballots for a 19% turnout, according to the EC.