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Cherokee Nation faces contempt order in Freedmen vote dispute





The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is facing a contempt of court citation for failing to notify Freedmen descendants of their citizenship and voting rights on time.

Under an order issued by a federal judge last week, the tribe agreed to notify the Freedmen descendants of their right to vote in the September 24 election for principal chief. However, an election official admitted to missing two deadlines due to a printing problem.

"We did everything we could physically do to comply with the court order," Susan Plumb, the chairwoman of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, told the Associated Press.

The Muskogee Phoenix reported that Judge Henry Kennedy held the tribe in contempt on Monday for failing to follow the order. However, as of this morning, there was no entry for the citation in the court's electronic filing system.

Final results of the race between Chad Smith, who was the incumbent, and Bill John Baker, a tribal councilor, won't be known until October 8 at the earliest.

Joe Crittenden, who was elected deputy chief, is serving as acting chief until the winner of the race is declared.

Get the Story:
Federal judge: Cherokees in contempt of court (The Muskogee Phoenix 9/26)
Cherokee Nation misses election pact deadline (AP 9/26)
Lawyer: Cherokee election board violated court order (The Tulsa World 9/27)

Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Cherokee Nation Registrar v. Nash (August 22, 2011)

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