SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) _ Voters returned incumbents to office in two tribal elections.
Citizen Potawatomie Nation tribal members chose John ``Rocky'' Barrett Jr. to serve another four years as their chairman in one of the largest voter turnouts in tribal history, Gary Bourbonnais, vice chairman of the tribe's election commission, said.
Bourbonnias said that of the nearly 18,000 registered Potawatomie voters, 2,414 cast their ballots in the race for chairman. Workers tallied votes into the early morning hours on Sunday.
In the end, Barrett received 70 percent of the votes, defeating Esther Lily Lowden 1,701 to 713. Barrett, first elected chairman in 1985, is also tribal administrator.
The Potawatomie Nation Business Committee tried to relieve Barrett of his administrative duties last year by passing a resolution that would have terminated him from the position.
Barrett challenged the resolution in tribal court, and a tribal judge ruled the committee's action unconstitutional. The tribe's supreme court heard oral arguments June 15 on the resolution but hasn't ruled yet.
Sunday also marked the beginning of James Lee Edwards' second term as governor of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.
Edwards defeated Danny Little Axe 243 to 223 in balloting June 16. Edwards' first term as governor began July 1, 1999, although he has been involved in tribal politics for some time.
From 1994 to 1998, Edwards served as treasurer of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and as a tribal representative from 1994 to 1996.