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Judge Keeps Special Election On Track

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A federal judge in Washington, D.C. rules that an election on whether descendants of freed Cherokee Nation slaves can be members of the tribe can proceed as scheduled.

The Tahlequah-based tribe has set the election for March 3rd.

The Oklahoman reports from its Washington bureau that U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Junior Wednesday denied a request by six Cherokee freedmen descendants to stop the election.

Kennedy says the harm the freedmen descendants are seeking to avoid is not the election itself but rather pure speculation as to its possible outcome.

Next month's election will be on whether to amend the tribal constitution to make Indian blood a requirement for citizenship. The tribal Supreme Court ruled last March that freedmen descendants did qualify for citizenship.

Tribal spokesman Mike Miller says of the tribe's 260,000 citizens, 2,780 are freedmen descendants.
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