Voter registration for the June 5, 2021 Cherokee Nation midterm election closes in a few days, on Wednesday, March 31. If you have moved since the last time you voted, or if you have never voted before in a Cherokee Nation Election, you must submit the attached Voter Registration form before March 31, 2021.
If you are already a registered voter and have not moved since the last time you voted, you do not need to fill out the Voter Registration form.
IN ADDITION, all At-Large voters must vote by absentee ballot, and must also request an absentee ballot for every election. (The only exception is if you vote in person at the Election Commission offices in Tahlequah on early voting dates.) The 2021 Absentee Ballot Request form is also attached. The deadline to submit it is not until April 16, but do it now. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you are also registering to vote, you may submit both at the same time.
Absentee voting will be a bit easier this year due to the changes in the CN election law. I sponsored legislation in 2020, joined by Councilor Mary Baker Shaw, to add an option to the notary requirement which had previously been mandated for all absentee voters. This year, absentee voters will be able to have their ballots notarized, just as in the past, OR may simply make a copy of their government-issued photo ID (which could be their CN photo ID), and include it in the ballot envelope with an attestation by one witness of the voter’s identity. The election commission has also just mandated that a copy of the witness’ government-issued photo ID must also be included in the envelope, and that the witness must be at least 18 years of age.
In short, it still remains very cumbersome for At Large voters to vote in Cherokee Nation elections, but at least most of us will have a somewhat easier time than having to find a notary who will not charge them, which was commonplace for CN citizens in the 38 other states for whom simply signing the envelope is the only requirement in state and federal elections.
So get your forms in today! At this point, emailing the form to them is probably best, and you will have a record that it was sent prior to the deadline (they do sometimes lose the forms, so make a record of it). You may scan and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or may even take a picture of the completed form and attach it to an email.
This is an important election, since it sets historical precedents. In addition, to the new absentee voting requirements, we also have the first freedman descendant running in a Cherokee Nation election for the At Large Council seat. Almost half the Tribal Council seats are up for election, so there are many reasons to vote, even though it is not the Chief’s race this year. As always we need to have strong At Large turnout, so get your forms in NOW!