Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Election Limbo Part II, Day 4: Welcome Back, Kotter Edition

Welcome Back, Kotter Carter!

The Cherokee Nation recommended that the Election Commission bring in a third party observer to watch the special election: the Carter Center, which observed Cherokee Nation’s 1999 election and was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to advance peace and health worldwide.

Well, we could use a little health and peace around here, and after watching the election, the Carter Center people already have written a little love letter to our election commission, and we’ve got a copy thanks to the fine folks at the Tahlequah Daily Press:

“Overall, Carter Center observation teams commended the competent administration of the election by the election commission and precinct polling staff.  The disciplined conduct of this election was notable given the shifting legal parameters and the additional administrative burden placed on the election commission in the days before the election by the federal court order.”

Trust us, if you wade through the rest of the message from the Carter Center, you’ll see that just how interesting those two sentences are.  To sum it up, the outside observers think the election commission is doing okay, saying things like “Polling was well organized in most precincts,”  “Poll workers were well informed about voting procedures,” and “the feel good hit of the summer.”  Okay, maybe not the last one.

One section of particular interest might be the part about the Freedmen voting, which says:
“Despite the controversy regarding the disenfranchisement and subsequent re-enfranchisement of the Freedmen, Carter Center observers did not report any cases of Freedmen encountering obstacles in casting their ballots on the Sept. 24 election day. No distinction was made between Freedmen and other voters on the voters roll.  In an exit meeting on Sept. 25, two Freedmen organizers told Carter Center observers that they received no complaints of discriminatory behavior or actions. The considerable efforts of the election commission to respond to the demands of the federal court order are to be recognized.”

So, hopefully that will keep the freedmen, BIA and APCSJC (the people who agreed on the order) happy because the court order says the freedmen needed to votewithout intimidation and harassment. 

The Carter Center did make some recommendations, which you can read for yourself, but the biggie is: “The Carter Center mission would also suggest that the election commission undertake a more robust voter information and outreach program.”   

Thanks for the advice, Mr. Kott-Air! See you again in 12 days or so when the votes get counted, and who knows, maybe 12 years from now too.

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