Key dates for the 2023 Cherokee Nation general election
BY CHAD HUNTER Reporter Oct 27, 2022 Updated Oct 27, 2022
June 1, 2019, election night spectators at the Cherokee Nation Election Commission office in Tahlequah crowd around results posted for the public.
CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – According to the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, three important dates for next year’s general election are Feb. 6 when candidate filing begins, the March 31 deadline for voter registration and Election Day June 3.
The 2023 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.
In 2019 – the most recent chief’s election year – a total of 36 hopefuls initially filed for open seats. That list was pared following three candidate removals and two withdrawals.
The filing period for candidates interested in next year’s election is Feb. 6-9. A news release from the Election Commission office says election hopefuls must file their declaration of candidacy “in person at the Election Commission Office,” which is located at 17763 South Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah. Cherokee Nation citizens interested in running for office may pick up a candidate packet beginning Dec. 1.
“The Cherokee Nation Election Commission will begin accepting absentee ballot request forms on Jan. 2, 2023, through April 10, 2023,” the release also notes. “The absentee ballot request forms will be available from the Election Commission Office and online” at election.cherokee.org.
A key date for citizens who have not yet registered to vote is March 31, the application deadline.
“Persons who are Cherokee Nation citizens and at least 18 years old, or will be 18 on June 3, 2023, may apply to become a registered voter by the deadline,” the election office says.
The deadline applies to tribal citizens who have never registered to vote, are not currently registered in the district in which they reside or are registered, but need to change their registration information.
“Voters with a new 911 address will need to complete a voter registration application form updating their new address information on or before the voter registration deadline,” the election office notes. “Now is the time to check and make sure you are registered to vote. Citizens are encouraged to check with the Election Commission office and to verify the information is correct.”
Voter registration forms can be requested or submitted in person, by mail, e-mail and fax. Registration forms are also available at election.cherokee.org.
The Election Commission says it responds in writing to each person who submits a voter registration application.
“The response is either a Voter Notification Card listing the new voter’s district number or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved,” the news release says. “Any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the Election Commission office.”
The Cherokee Nation Election Commission is located at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave in Tahlequah. The CNEC’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Call the office at 918-458-5899 or toll free at 800-353-2895. The commission’s website is election.cherokee.org, and its mailing address is P.O. Box 1188, Tahlequah, OK 74465-1188. The fax number is 918-458-6101.
Election day will take place on Saturday, June 3. A run-off election, if necessary, will take place on July 8, also a Saturday.
Seats up for grabs in 2023 include:
• Principal chief: The current chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr., was elected in 2019. Hoskin, who will be eligible to run for a second term as chief in 2023, previously served as the tribe’s secretary of state and as a member of the Tribal Council.
• Deputy principal chief: Bryan Warner, Hoskin’s running mate in 2019, is also eligible for a second term in office.
• Tribal Council District 1: Rex Jordan, the district’s councilor since 2015, will term out in 2023. District 1 covers portions of Cherokee and Wagoner counties.
• Tribal Council District 3: Wes Nofire was elected in 2019 and is eligible for a second term in office. District 3 includes much of southern Cherokee County.
• Tribal Council District 6: Daryl Legg was also elected in 2019 and is eligible for a second term in office. District 6 covers the eastern part of Sequoyah County.
• Tribal Council District 8: Shawn Crittenden has served as a councilor since 2015. His back-to-back terms are up in 2023. District 8 covers the eastern portion of Adair County, as well as much of its northern border.
• Tribal Council District 12: Dora Patzkowski was elected in 2019 and is eligible for a second term in office. District 12 is the most northwestern district within the Cherokee Nation’s reservation. The district encompasses Washington County, southern Nowata County and the extreme northwest of Tulsa County.
• Tribal Council District 13: Joe Deere has served as a councilor since 2019. He is eligible to run again in 2023. District 13 includes portions of Rogers and Tulsa counties.
• Tribal Council District 14: Keith Austin was elected in 2015 and again in 2019. He will term out of office in 2023. District 14 encompasses the majority of Rogers County.
• Tribal Council at-large: Julia Coates represented voters outside of the reservation from 2007-15 and was elected again in 2019. She is eligible to run for a second consecutive term in 2023.
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