Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Releases Statement Regarding Election

From Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Meredith Frailey:
Yesterday, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court issued an order vacating all certifications of the Election Commission concerning the 2011 general election for the office of Principal Chief. The evidence clearly showed that there was an inability to determine the winner of the Principal Chief election by a mathematical certainty. Consequently, the court unanimously chose to follow the rule of law and order a new election for office of Principal Chief. This process is a testament to our government that each branch operates independently and fairly.

According to law, the Principal Chief will set an election in the coming days. In the immediate future, the Cherokee people will have a number of questions on how the process will be administered. The Tribal Council will help ensure that every rule is followed and every law obeyed, and that safeguards are in place to ensure that the Cherokee people’s voice is heard in this election.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council stands ready to review all policies, procedures and election laws to ensure a well-administered special election. We have requested the Cherokee Nation Election Commission to hire an independent election service to assist in the election process. We hope they follow our recommendations. We may also exercise our constitutional authority to improve our election laws to help avoid some of the issues our Nation faced in this past election. Both Principal Chief candidates have called for a review of how our elections have been conducted. The Tribal Council may find it prudent to take the time necessary to consider these potential changes. I urge Principal Chief Chad Smith to consider allowing time for the Council to address these concerns when he schedules the special election.

The upcoming election likely will involve spirited debate and discourse concerning the future path of the Cherokee Nation. In discussing those issues that are important to the Cherokee people, we are certain the candidates will exercise those Cherokee traits that we hold most dear: honesty, civility and truthfulness, and that the debate will be respectful and thoughtful.

We have a strong government. The way to ensure and maintain that strength is to exercise our right to vote. Our decision in voting affects all Cherokee citizens and our neighbors. The Cherokee people have been put to a test by the trials and tribulations of the recent election cycle. The result is that the character of the Cherokee Nation is strong and we will emerge even stronger as a result of the test.

About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people. It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 300,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capital located in Tahlequah, Okla. Employing more than 8,200 people, Cherokee Nation’s annual economic impact in Oklahoma and surrounding areas is more than $1.3 billion. To learn more, please visit

Updated 07-22-2011

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