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Cherokee voters to choose representatives, alcohol regs

Political signs cover a corner near the Birdtown Complex in Cherokee. Holly Kays photo Political signs cover a corner near the Birdtown Complex in Cherokee. Holly Kays photo

Election Day is coming to Cherokee on Thursday, Sept. 2, with voters set to choose Tribal Council and School Board representatives, as well as weigh in on three alcohol-related referendum questions. 

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. All 12 Tribal Council seats are up for election, as are the Cherokee School Board seats representing Big Cove, Wolfetown and Birdtown. The top two vote-getters from each community in the Tribal Council race will be sworn in for two-year terms on Monday, Oct. 4. The top vote-getter from each community in the School Board race will be sworn in for a four-year term. 

In order to be considered a valid vote, at least 30% of registered voters must participate in the referendum election. If participation crosses that threshold and the majority of voters approve any or all of the referendum questions, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Board of Elections will certify the results, and they shall be deemed a binding action or law duly passed and ratified by the principal chief. Any decision made by a referendum vote can be overturned only with another referendum. 

If the referendum fails, however — including due to a lack of participation — the question cannot be brought back before voters for two years. 

The EBCI Board of Elections is located in the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex at 810 Acquoni Road in Cherokee and can be reached at 828.359.6361.


Related Items

On the ballot

Referendum questions (answer yes or no)

• Do you support expanding the sales of malt beverages (beer) at retail establishments (grocery or convenience stores) within the Qualla Boundary? 

• Do you support allowing the Tribal ABC Commission to operate an ABC package store to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages on tribal lands? 

• Do you support expanding the sales of malt beverages and wines at restaurants, hotels and other qualified establishments within the Qualla Boundary? 


Tribal Council 

(voters pick two for their community)


  • Gloria “Punkin” Griffin
  • Cyndi Lambert
  • Boyd Owle*
  • Albert Rose*


  • Bo Crowe*
  • Chelsea Taylor Saunooke*
  • Jesse Sneed
  • Bill Taylor


  • Stephanie Saunooke French
  • T.W. Price Saunooke
  • Tom Wahnetah*
  • Dave Wolfe*

Big Cove

  • Patrick Hill 
  • Richard French*
  • Teresa McCoy 


  • Tommye Saunooke*
  • Dike Sneed*
  • Bentley Tahquette 

Cherokee County/Snowbird  

  • Bucky Brown*
  • William A. “Billy” Brown 
  • Janell Rattler 
  • Adam Wachacha*


School Board 

(voters pick one for their community)

Big Cove

  • Lavita Hill
  • Kristina Hyatt


  • Melanie Lambert
  • Ashford Smith


  • Isaac “Ike” Long*
  • Berdie Toineeta 

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