Thursday, August 4, 2011

Election Limbo Day 40: To Meet or Not to Meet?

Friday there is a special council meeting with four agenda items, two of which are focused on the election and two of which are not.

The two election-related items are the appointment of the council’s election commission nominee, Susan Plumb, and potential election law changes.  The council chose not to take up the changes in committee last week, even though the majority of the committee voted to do so.  They needed two thirds of the vote to amend the agenda, and came up one vote short.  Baker was one of the votes against considering changing the laws, and he tells the Muskogee Phoenix that changes to the election law ‘would not be valid at this point,’ even though he asked the Supreme Court to change the rules himself just a few weeks ago.

In fact, Baker proposed seven different election law changes himself to the Supreme Court, and could have had the council consider them at last weeks committee meeting, but instead voted not to.

It will be interesting to see what he does tomorrow, because, it’s apparent that a lot of Cherokees, including Smith and Baker, think things could be improved in our election processes.

Smith seems to think Baker might not show up at all, and points out that Baker once supported penalties for council members who skipped meetings back during the crisis.  In the Muskogee Phoenix story earlier this week, Smith challenged Baker to show up, and Baker didn’t appear to answer whether he would be there or not.

If he’s not, it may have something to do with the other two items on the agenda, the appointments of Diane Hammons as Attorney General and Sharon Wright as Marshal.  Both of these appointments are for 5 year terms, which are intended to overlap chief terms in accordance with the Cherokee Constitution.  Their terms have expired, but some council members, including Hoskin and Crittenden who are in Baker’s camp, wanted to wait until after the September election to fill those slots, just in case Baker wins and he can appoint them instead.  That’s just politics, but the other two items could impact the quality of our election-- so it will be interesting to see if Baker and his friends who have been critical of the previous election show up, or if they try to keep a quorum from being assembled.

Added to the mix is the fact that council member David Thornton is recovering from heart surgery and likely won’t be at the meeting.  It takes twelve members to make a quorum, so we’ll see if they get that many and see if they address the election issues that both candidates (and their supporters) have raised over the past few months.

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