• 13 candidates seeking post previously held by Mooniene Ogee

ADA — Qualified voters have until Nov. 14 to cast their ballots in the special election for Seat 3, Pontotoc District, in the Chickasaw Tribal Legislature. Thirteen candidates are seeking the seat left vacant by the death of long-time legislator Mooniene Ogee, according to Rita Loder, Chickasaw Election Commission secretary.

Ballots must be in the hands of the election secretary by 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 14, and ballot tabulation will begin at 11 a.m. Ballots were mailed to eligible voters Oct. 23.

If none of the candidates receives a majority (50 percent plus one ) of the ballots cast, the top two vote-getters will battle for the seat in a runoff election. Recount ballots, if an election is necessary, must be returned by 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 12.

The winner will be sworn into office in ceremonies that begin at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at the headquarters’ legislative conference room.

Article 3, Section 1 of the Chickasaw Constitution, “Rights of Suffrage,” authorizes all citizens, age 18 and older who are qualified voters and are registered to vote, to cast ballots in tribal elections. Section 2 states that “No enrolled member of another tribe or person who votes as a citizen or member of another tribe shall be eligible to vote (in Chickasaw elections).”

Candidates for the Chickasaw Legislature must be registered to vote and be at least age 25. The Pontotoc District boundary begins on the east bank of Blue River — where the line crosses the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, then along a line to the Canadian River and up the river to the 98th Meridian Line. From there, south along the line to Washita River, and down the river to the Tishomingo District, then to the line of the Panola District, and down to the beginning point.

The other Chickasaw Legislative districts include Panola, Pickens and Tishomingo.

For more information, visit www.chickasawlegislature.com.

The Ada Evening News received candidate profiles from Heath Allison, Melvin Burris, Katie Case, Patricia Cox, Nancy Elliott, Kay Colbert-Hall, Jeannie Lunsford, Matthew Morgan, Carolyn Nimmo and Norma Cravatt-Prince. Profiles were not received from Robert Perry, Russ Stick and Dr. Debra Vaughn.

Biographical sketches of the 13 candidates are available in the 2006 Special Election issue of the October 2006 Chickasaw Times.

Loder provided several suggestions to those who will be casting ballots:

• Complete the arrow (on the ballot), using a No. 2 pencil or black ink pen. Do not circle, check or underline the candidates’ names.

• Sign your signature on the outside ballot envelope exactly as it reads, using a blue or black ink pen. Be sure to sign in cursive. Do not print.

• The bar code printed on the envelope is for tabulating purposes only and is not to be recorded anywhere on the envelope or ballot.

• Do not put more than one ballot in the inner envelope. Ballots will not be counted if an envelope holds more than one.

——— Voters are asked to complete and mail their ballots as soon as they receive them so that the ballots will arrive at the election office by 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14. Loder said ballots will could take up to three days through the postal system. Ballots cannot be turned in at the election mission office — they must be mailed.

——— Make sure ballots are not soiled or scribbled on. All ballots must be legible.

——— Ballots will remain at the Ada Post Office until they are picked up by election commissioners on Nov. 14.

Bill Anoatubby is the Chickasaw Nation governor, and Jefferson Keel is the tribe’s lieutenant governor.

There are 13 seats in the Chickasaw Tribal Legislature.

Loder said election results should be available during the afternoon on Nov. 14.

For additional information, phone the Chickasaw Election Commission at (580) 310-6475 or toll-free at (888) 661-0137.

“We mailed out 8,975 ballots,” Loder said. “And we’re expecting about 3,000 voters to respond. The turnout could be higher since we have 13 individuals seeking office.”

Loder encouraged all registered Chickasaw voters to cast ballots in the special election.

“As a citizen and eligible voter of the Chickasaw Nation, (tribal members) have the honor to cast (their) vote for (their) tribal leaders,” Loder said. “Remember, you must sign your name as it appears on the addressed envelope or you vote WILL NOT be counted. Your signature has been scanned in the voter database as it appears on your voter application. Your signature on the outer envelope is compared to your signature on the voter database to confirm its validity. ... No one knows how you vote.”

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