Voter turnout came in at 53.9% for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Sept. 7 election, according to numbers the Board of Elections released last week, a dip from the 57.1% turnout observed during the last chief election in 2019.
In a decision that received national attention, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum question endorsing legalized recreational marijuana on the Qualla Boundary for adults 21 and older.
What was once an extremely contentious issue in Cherokee now appears to be fairly noncontroversial, as a referendum vote seeking approval for issuing mixed drink permits on the Qualla Boundary sailed through with 68.3% approval Sept. 7.
In a narrowly divided vote Thursday, June 1, the Cherokee Tribal Council delayed deciding on a resolution seeking to upend a planned referendum to approve the tribe’s first constitution in more than 150 years.
Tears, hugs and applause exploded through the Tribal Council chambers April 6 when the body unanimously passed a resolution placing a tribal constitution on the ballot for the Sept. 7 General Election.
After tabling it last month for further discussion, on March 3 the Cherokee Tribal Council unanimously approved two referendum questions that will ask voters to approve term limits and staggered terms for Tribal Council.