Any person who has obtained Tribal Membership as defined by Article II of the Constitution and who has attained the age of eighteen (18) by the date of any election shall be eligible to register to vote in Choctaw Nation tribal elections. Every eligible tribal member must be registered with the Voter Registration Department to vote in tribal elections.
Each eligible tribal member must fill out a Voter Registration form. The information provided on the voter registration form is signed under oath.
Tribal members living inside the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma boundaries must be registered in the district in which they reside and may submit an official ballot as provided in Article XV of the Chief and Tribal Council Election Ordinance.
Non-resident voters may become affiliated with a district of their choice. Once a non-resident voter has affiliated with a district while living outside of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma boundaries, he or she must remain affiliated with their chosen district. Affiliation may change only when a voter moves back within the boundaries of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Non-resident voters may submit an official ballot as provided in the Chief and Tribal Council Election Ordinance.
Non-resident or unaffiliated voters are only eligible to vote in an election for the Chief and/or constitutional amendments.
Eligible tribal members may register to vote with the Voter Registration Department all year during regular business hours except holidays recognized by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Ballots will consist of candidates’ names or names with pictures, also known as pictorial ballots. A candidate’s name will appear on the ballot as he/she so designates on the Declaration of Candidacy filed with the Election Board. If a seat is uncontested, no ballots will be issued for that seat.
Each ballot, except mail-in ballots, shall be coded with a unique number in a way that can identify the voting location from which the ballot was issued.
Mail-in ballots shall be identical to the regular ballots but shall be stamped “MAIL-IN BALLOT” and the date of the issuance shown thereon. The ballots, when mailed to the voter, shall be accompanied by a plain opaque envelope marked “BALLOT”, and a pre-addressed postage paid affidavit envelope for voter’s convenience. The return envelope will have the mailing address for the Election Board on it.
Sample ballots are printed for every election. Sample ballots are exact duplicates of regular issue ballots except that no numbers are printed on them and “SAMPLE BALLOT” is printed across the face of the ballot. Sample ballots are posted at each voting location on every voting day and are available in the Election Board office.
Voting, whether in-person or by mail, shall be by secret ballot. Ballots shall be tabulated by electronic voting machine and/or done manually. Voting machines will be provided by the company hired to conduct the elections.
Voters may cast a ballot during hours of operation at any open voting location regardless of the district. The voter will provide the Voting Location Board with his/her name and address. The voter must present an ID issued by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (photo or non-photo) showing full name and date of birth or a photo ID issued by another government.
A Voting Location Board member determines the person’s eligibility by locating his/her name on the registry and verifying that such voter has not previously cast a ballot in the impending election. Once the person’s eligibility is proven, the voter is asked to sign the registry. A Voting Location Board member then issues the appropriate ballot. A Voting Location Board member provides the voter a marking pen and directs the voter to a voting booth. When the voter has finished voting, he/she must promptly leave the voting location.
A voter who is able to reach the voting location, but because of a physical disability or infirmity is unable to come inside, can be assisted outside of the election enclosure. The Voting Location Board Inspector will stop processing the voters inside the election enclosure. Voters who have already signed the registry will be permitted to complete voting first. The Voting Location Board Inspector and another Voting Location Member will approach the disabled voter outside the voting enclosure and provide whatever assistance is required. The disabled voter must subscribe to an oath, called a Request for Assistance Form (see Appendix Form E), that he/she is entitled to the assistance. The voter may mark his/her own ballot or he/she may choose to be assisted by a person of his/her choosing, provided that person is not the voter’s employer or an agent of the employer. The voter may also choose to be assisted by one of the Voting Location Board members other than the Inspector. At no time should the ballot box be left unattended.
A voter who is able to enter the election enclosure but is unable to mark his/her ballot because of a physical or visual disability/infirmity or is illiterate and cannot read and/or write, is entitled to special assistance. The Voting Location Board Inspector will stop processing the voters inside the election enclosure. Voters who have already signed the registry will be permitted to complete voting first. The disabled voter must subscribe to an oath, called a Request for Assistance Form (see Appendix Form E), that he/she is entitled to the assistance. The Voter then indicates whether he/she wishes to be assisted by one of the Voting Location Board members or by a person of the voter’s choosing, provided that person is not the voter’s employer or an agent of the employer. Assistance in marking ballots is then provided in the voting booth. At no time should the ballot box be left unattended.
Please note that any view or opinions presented in the election insert are solely those of the candidates and do not necessarily represent those of the BISKINIK, Election Board, or Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The intent of this insert is for candidates of office to share with members of the Choctaw Nation their information and goals prior to the tribal election in which they seek office. Each candidate is provided the same space and followed the same policy for submission of information.
2023 Election Candidates
Gary Batton – Unopposed
Chief Batton seeks re-election.
“It has been an honor to serve as your Chief for the past nine years. It is a blessing to see the Chahta spirit alive and well! We have come through difficult times like Covid, but the Choctaw People have remained strong! Adversity and creativity are nothing new to us. It is times like these that we rise up and unite to do what is necessary to move our people forward.
When our sovereignty was questioned, we took action, and the courts re-affirmed what we already knew – that we are a sovereign nation. We also know that preservation of our language and culture define who we are. To preserve our culture and language we constructed a beautiful new $74 million cultural center and developed apprentice and community-based language programs. This will help to ensure our culture and language sustain throughout our future generations.
We know that our future depends on investing in a healthy foundation for our future, so we are delivering on priorities of healthcare, housing and education. We built a new clinic in Durant and new wellness centers across the Choctaw Nation and will be doubling the size of the clinic in McAlester. We constructed almost 1,000 new affordable rental, independent elderly, and LEAP homes, and have already committed to another 600. Seven new Head Start/child development centers have been opened, and we will be constructing additional centers to assure that our young have access to a good education.
Lastly, we know that we must create jobs and opportunities for our tribal members, and remain financially stable. This is the reason we invested in numerous businesses and have created more than 6,000 new jobs.
All of this work has been in an effort to sustain our culture, preserve our language and provide more opportunities for our tribal members, yet, there is still more work to be done. I am excited about our future and stand united with you to continue this very worthwhile effort!”
Before his election to Chief, Gary Batton began working for the tribe in 1987 and held positions in purchasing, housing, and health. As Deputy Director of Housing, he constructed approximately 2,500 homes. He served as Executive Director of Health where he led construction of a tribally funded, state-of-the-art health care center and several clinics throughout the reservation. As Assistant Chief, he developed an economic development plan that led to the construction of numerous businesses. In just nine years, Chief Batton has developed programs and continued the expansion of businesses to improve the lives of tribal members across the globe and will continue his unwavering vision of living out the Chahta spirit of faith, family and culture.
Batton and his wife, Angie, reside in Clayton. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Thomas R. Williston – Unopposed
I would like to take a moment of your time to say “Yakoke” to all Choctaws of district 1 and all across our reservation. It has been a humbling experience to have served as District 1 Councilman for the past 12 ½ years. I have made it my passion to serve and listen to the wants, needs, and ideas of our people. There has been so much accomplished in District 1 as well as across reservation. This all comes from listening to and cooperation with the people, other council members, and working with our Chief. As Council Person of District 1, I will continue to serve all our people with integrity and honesty. My door is always open, and I am always willing to listen.
I reflect on the Trail or Tears often and imagine the hardships our ancestors endured. I think of our Choctaw Code Talkers who with our Native language were instrumental in the freedom we all share today. Our young soldiers today are protecting that right so that our young today can live free and enjoy life to the fullest. There are so many things as Choctaw people we have been blessed with, one thing I think the most of is the sacrifices our ancestors made to help give us the strength that the Choctaw People have today. Let us not forget where we come from.
Councilman Thomas Williston
Brent Minter – Candidate
I, Brent Minter, am announcing my candidacy for District 2 Choctaw Tribal Council. I am happily married to my wife Jeanna (Davis) Minter and have one Daughter Kaylie Minter (17) who is currently a senior at the Oklahoma School of the Blind. I am the son of Juanna and Joe Minter of Broken Bow and have one brother, Cephus Minter of the United States Air Force. I have been a resident of Broken Bow all my life and would be honored to give back to my tribal community.
I love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, golfing, family activities and just riding around enjoying the woods and nature. I’m a member of the Broken Bow Church of Christ. I have always tried to help people in need and jumped at the opportunity to cut trees and tarp houses during the tornadoes we have had in our area over the past couple of years. I did work on the road for 8 years doing construction as a pipeline superintendent, inspector, foreman and project manager. About 2 years ago I started a carpentry business to work with the local community and signed up to be a vendor to help the Choctaw people with the Homeowners Rehabilitation Services vouchers as I seen a great need to stay local rather than help out of state businesses. I strive to be fair, honest, and hard working in both my personal life and my business and hope to do the same for District 2 as councilman. There are numerous ideas that I have gathered from speaking with Choctaw people in my area to improve some of the great programs that the Choctaw Nation offers such as, the voucher program, the transportation program for elders and disabled tribal members, and the hunting/fishing program in hopes to preserve our culture for future generations as it had been for generations in the past. If given the opportunity to be your councilman, I promise that I will work for the Choctaw people of district 2 and listen to questions, concerns, advice, or any stories that you have to offer with an open-door policy, quick return of phone calls and by being readily available during any natural disasters or emergencies.
FaceBook page Brent Minter for district 2 tribal council
Candidate for district 2 tribal councilman
Tony Ward – Incumbant
I would like to thank our Lord and the citizens of District 2 for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your Councilman. I am the son of the late Jonah and Kay Ward. I am happily married to my wife of 25 years, Amy. We have two children, Peyton, and Kayla. I am a lifelong active member of McGee Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church where I serve as an Elder.
It has been an honor and a great privilege to serve our citizens of District 2 and it is always great to hear your ideas, suggestions, and concerns. You have asked to improve our housing situation, employment, and opportunities to make District 2 a great place to live and raise our families.
During my time on council, we have started building lease to purchase homes (LEAP), Affordable Rental Homes (ARH), Independent Elderly homes and Multifamily apartments. When completed, we will have 215 living units. The most built at any one time in District 2 with more to come. We are expanding the Ruby Choate Clinic in Broken Bow to add more exam rooms and bringing back the Pharmacy! We will be expanding the Wellness Center and extending the walking track with a park.
One of the most exciting projects we are in the middle of is the Choctaw Landing Resort in Hochatown. Choctaw Landing Resort will provide our district with many opportunities. The resort will create over 400 employment positions and capture revenue in a fast-growing tourist spot.
With a focus on our culture, we have started a language nesting program to help grow and continue our Chahta language to pass on to future generations. During the Covid-19 pandemic we lost many of our elders, our first language speakers. It is important to us to take care of our elders, so we created a monthly food card to help with groceries. We have decided to continue that for the year 2023-2024.
These are a few things that we are working on to better this District and all of Choctaw Nation. As a servant leader I strive to grow also. I currently serve as Speaker Pro Tempore for the Tribal Council, Chairperson for the Commerce Committee, Secretary of the Human Resources Committee and the Finance Committee, Member of the Housing Committee and serve as Delegate for Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized of Oklahoma. I am committed to gaining more knowledge that will benefit the growth of the Choctaw Nation and its members.
We have seen much growth and progress in our District, but our work is not done. Let us continue to move forward. If re-elected I will continue to work extremely hard in our great district. We can accomplish more if we continue to work together. Again, as always, I look forward to listening to your ideas, suggestions, concerns and being your advocate. With your continued support and prayers, I will be honored to protect our sovereign nation and its great Choctaw members.
Eddie Bohanan – Incumbent
Eddie Bohanan was born in Talihina, but Smithville was where he called home. He grew up in Smithville, attended the Indian Baptist Mission Church and graduated from Smithville High School. While in high school he served in the role of FFA president for three years. With that experience it was evident that Mr. Bohanan’s career choice would take him into a role of leadership and public service.
Bohanan left Smithville to attend the OSU Institution of Technology before attending the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy. He then served twenty-eight years with distinction as a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the last twelve of which he served at the rank of Lieutenant.
He was awarded the “Chief’s Award” by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety for protecting others in a dangerous tactical situation, once again demonstrating the commitment and dedication Bohanan has for public service.
Bohanan’s roots are deep in the Choctaw Nation. He is proud that his family members Juanita Futrell, Maxine Umsted, Jerry and Dusty Bohanan have been recognized as Choctaw “Outstanding Elders.” He gives thanks to them and all the other elders that have contributed to him being the Choctaw that he is. He understands that “they sacrificed much to allow us to have the privileges and freedoms we have today.” He also understands how much more they have to contribute to the Choctaw future.
Upon Bohanan’s retirement from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, he felt led to serve the Choctaw people in his home district. In 2019, he asked the Choctaw Nation Members of District #3 to put their trust and confidence in him to represent them and their needs as their Tribal Councilman.
For the past four years, Bohanan has proudly served as Councilman. Within his district, he serves two Senior Wellness/Community Centers. Representing these centers gives him the opportunity to be with the Choctaw people, to hear them, and to gather information about the needs of their community.
Bohanan has been part of the Choctaw Nation growth and progress in southeast Oklahoma. In District #3, both Smithville and Talihina have had new businesses added to the communities and recently celebrated the ground breaking of the 3 Riveres Meat Processing Plant in Smithville. Recently purchased property in Talihina will be bringing a Wellness Center to the area. New businesses, new homes, new jobs all are part of the vision Bohanan shares with Chief Gary Batton and Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr.
Never straying far from his roots, Eddie Bohanan now resides in a small community just up the road from where he grew up. He and his wife Paula have been married for 36 years. Together, they raised two daughters, Charity and Faith, who went on to marry Sean and Justin. The Bohanans have been blessed with four grandchildren. Tribal Councilman Eddie Bohanan and wife Paula have lived in Muse for the past twenty-eight years are members of the Octavia Baptist Church.
For more information visit FaceBook: Eddie Bohanan Choctaw Tribal Council District 3.
Kay Haering – Candidate
Halito District 3 Residents. What is the most important need for our area? Jobs! With the advancement of computer technology, many jobs could be brought into our area with proper internet. Our children should not have to leave our area to find employment. We live in the most beautiful part of the State. We need to be included in the growth of our Choctaw Nation. And we need to have a seat at the table in all important considerations of jobs within the Nation. We need opportunities for our residents. It doesn’t just happen. We must have someone willing to be an active voice, in order to be included. I will work for you in service to the betterment of our district. I come from a family that was honored in their communities. My Great Grandfather, Nelson Jacob was a circuit Choctaw Methodist Minister. Who rode by horseback to 2 and 3 Indian churches every week. I was raised by my grandmother who could borrow money from the bank on her word. The banker said write the check and I will make it good. I will serve District 3 with compassion, honesty and dedication. I can be reached at Kay Haering Candidate District 3 on Facebook. Look for upcoming live event meetings on Facebook. I appreciate your vote!
Ron Perry – Unopposed
I, Ronald Clyde Perry, would like to announce my candidacy for District 5 Choctaw Council person. I am currently serving my 3rd term as Councilman for District 5, which has grown and prospered under my leadership.
I am a longtime resident of District 5, born and raised in the Choctaw Nation. My parents were both fullblood Choctaws and raised me the Choctaw way with good work ethics, morals and the Choctaw culture, and religion. I have been a member of the Bethel Indian Baptist Church since birth.
I have proved my leadership abilities and kindness towards the people of District 5 as well as all through the Nation.
I feel under my leadership along with the Chief and Assistant Chief and Council, districts can continue to grow and be great community partners within the Choctaw Nation reservation.
Please accept my sincerest appreciation for the years I have been able to serve our Nation and will continue to serve.
Perry Thompson – Incumbent
Serving as your District 8 Councilperson since 1987 has been a tremendous privilege. I would be honored to continue to work for you in that capacity. Being able to serve and help my fellow Choctaw Tribal Member for the past nine terms has been both fulfilling and uplifting.
I plan to continue to work with Choctaw staff in all programs and departments so that ALL CITIZENS of the Choctaw Nation can live healthier, more productive lives. I plan to continue to advocate for tribal members to promote growth and prosperity for District 8. Choctaw Nation has a strong history to persevere and continue to improve all aspects. I pledge to continue to uphold my duties as District 8 Councilperson and see us continue to move forward as a Nation.
The tribal programs and businesses, including the Grant Casino, Grant Travel Plaza, Travel Plaza in Hugo, Health Clinic, Social Services, Wellness Center, Housing Authority, and other programs in District 8 have flourished – growing jobs in Choctaw County area impressively. Records show there are approximately 3,819 Choctaw Tribal Members living in District 8. This number shows us how important it is to continue to provide the services we provide to those 3,819 Tribal Members.
Some of the highlights in District 8 are listed below. I am proud to see Choctaws utilizing these services to meet their needs. The beautiful new Choctaw Community Center in Hugo has served to provide dinners and events for elders and others. The remodel of the Choctaw Nation Health Clinic has made a huge improvement in the patient flow and the increase in staff. Boswell Country Market has opened, and this is a great addition to the community. The Housing Authority continues to provide LEAP homes for families. The Storm Shelter, and Lawn Care services have also been recently added and these are examples of Choctaw Nation meeting the needs of their people. The Chahtapreneur program provides the ability for Choctaws to chase their dreams of being business owners and keeps business within our tribal members. The Grant ball fields continue to remain one of the most popular improvements of the past few years! Another exciting development is the expansion of Tribal Services and Housing Authority, this change will aid in making services more accessible for our Tribal Members.
My wife, Gail, my children, grandchildren and I are proud members of the Choctaw Nation. The values of faith, family and culture have been a natural part of our lives as were raised through the generations of our family. I am grateful to see generations in my family, as well as you continue to live prosperous and hopeful in District 8.
Thank you for allowing ME TO WORK FOR You as your representative. My tribe has always stood by me and I plan to continue to stand by my tribe. I would be honored to continue to serve those in District 8.
Choctaw Council, District 8
2287 E 2018 Rd
Hugo OK 74743
Larry Wade – Candidate
I am a proud member of the Choctaw Tribe and have dedicated my life to serving our community. I have an extensive background in various roles within the Choctaw Tribe. I began my career with the tribe on August 29, 1986, and have since served in a variety of positions that have allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the needs and priorities of our community. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to serve as the Director of the Higher Education Program Grants and Scholarships, where I have worked to increase access to education for members of our tribe for 26 years. I have also served as the Facilities Management and Landscaping Manager, where I have worked to ensure that our tribal facilities are safe, clean, and well-maintained for 7 years. In addition, I have served as the Housing Improvement Program Director, where I have worked to provide safe and affordable housing for members of our community for 2 years. I have also worked as a Purchasing staff member, where I have gained valuable experience in managing budgets and finances for 1 year. One of my proudest accomplishments was my time spent as a Recruiter for the 1-year JTPA Program. During this time, I worked to identify and recruit young talent from within our community and provide them with necessary skills and resources to succeed in their careers. As a candidate for Choctaw Council District 8, I am committed to using my experience and knowledge to serve our community to the best of my ability. I will work to ensure that our community has access to quality education, affordable housing, and well-maintained facilities. I humbly ask for your support in this campaign. Together, we can build a better future for the Choctaw Tribe.
Nellie Meashintubby – Candidate
Halito! Sv hohchifo yvt Nellie Meashintubby. I am currently seeking the Choctaw Nation District 11 Tribal Council Seat.
I have lived in the McAlester, OK area most of my life. Education is important to me. Three powerful words that I recall are “Educate or Perish.” I hold a Masters in Behavioral Studies and a Master in Indigenous People’s Law. Being educated in Federal Indian Law is vital while making legislative decisions regarding sovereignty and moving our tribe forward. Since the McGirt decision, we are in a time when our Nation is stepping up sovereignty and we are facing much adversity. Sovereignty is important that we as the Choctaw nation protect and maintain especially in the regulatory area.
I am a proven leader as I was the CEO and Clinical Director for a successful counseling agency for many years. Currently, I have opened another Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling agency in a rural area. My work and educational background has given me the experience and knowledge needed to hold this important position within our tribe.
COVID was a hard time for our tribal citizens. We lost many of our people. It was a blessing when the federal government approved the CARES and ARPA funds to flow through the tribes to assist them in taking care of their citizens, as well as the functions of the tribe. As your councilwoman, I would ensure that our tribal citizens continue to receive food security, housing, and economic assistance.
Our tribe has prospered in many areas. It is important that we continue to move forward and diversify our businesses. Creating and providing jobs for our tribal citizens in all areas of employment including upper management is necessary for the well-being of our tribal citizens. As the tribe prospers so should our tribal citizens and it should be reflected in the lives of our tribal citizens. Transparency and accountability are vital to a successful working government which I believe tribal citizens deserve.
Traditionally, Choctaws were a matrilineal tribe. The matriarchs were a respected component of the tribe and integral to making decisions for the tribe. Bringing balance back to the Choctaw Nation would greatly benefit our tribe and tribal citizens.
I will be a VOICE for our people as I have successfully advocated for change within our Indian Education programs both at the local and state levels.
Our elders and youth should be protected. It is essential to help our Tribal citizens that are struggling and in need. Families should prosper with dignity. When we teach our children the culture, language, and traditions then our tribe will remain strong for the next seven generations.
I am prepared to be available and work full time for ALL Choctaw citizens. It is all about the people! I humbly ask for your vote and would proudly serve as your District 11 Councilwoman.
Robert Karr – Incumbent
I am honored to serve on Tribal Council, meeting the needs of Choctaw tribal members across District 11 for the last four years. I am the son of the late Robert Edward Karr and the late full-blood Choctaw Betty Amos Karr, the grandson of the late Jefferson Lee Hancock, and Angeline Moore, both original enrollees of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
When I first asked for your vote in 2019, I made a promise to you: that I will never forget who I work for, that I will strive every day to make you proud and be your voice for positive change. I have held to that promise, and the last four years have been one of progress, and unified work to strengthen our cultural and community ties.
Knowing that a healthy economic future must have a foundation in the physical health of our tribal members, it is an honor to have assisted the development and approval of a nearly 70-million-dollar, 51,000 square foot expansion of our Choctaw Nation Health Clinic in McAlester – which will be completed in FY’24. With the expansion, we will deliver state of the art health care to 65% more patients and will create 56 new jobs to care for our tribal members.
Secondly, a strong future is also dependent on the right start for our tribal members early in life. We are delivering progress as promised, with construction beginning soon on a new child development center, to give our children the right start.
Housing is also a key priority, and over the last four years, we have 58 LEAP homes, 20 independent elderly and 7 affordable housing units for the benefit of our tribal members in District 11.
In my unique roles of serving in our region as both a Tribal Counil Member and previously on McAlester City Council, I have developed and promoted partnerships and a harmonious pathway towards economic development and success. With my education at EOSC, SOSU, Kiamichi Technology, and OSU Institute of Technology and work history of 34 years at Rockwell, Boeing, and Spirit AeroSystems, I will continue to advance our next steps forward as our region continues to secure defense and arial system contracts to deliver even more economic development opportunities for the Choctaw people. I serve on the Kiamichi Technology Business & Education Committee, and the McAlester Defense Support Association.
My wife Tammy and I have been married for 38 years. We have three sons, two daughter in laws, and six wonderful grandchildren.
I’ve worked at Jones Academy, served on a JOM parent committee and Pittsburg County Choctaw Powwow committee. I was instrumental in organizing the District 11 youth stickball team Tvnvp Issuba and for many years have participated in the Choctaw community language classes.
I ask for your continued trust and your vote to continue service as your District 11 Tribal Council Member. For more information, please contact me: 918-318-0959, or on Facebook: Council Robert Karr. Yakoke.
Upon ballot approval by the Election Board, a sample ballot will be made available to Choctaw Voters to view for their affiliated Council District on the Tribal Elections webpage.
All voters affiliated with a Council District having an election will start receiving ballots in the mail beginning the week of June 12. Ballots will continue to be mailed to new and voters with address updates through Friday, June 30.
For more information regarding the 2023 Choctaw Election, voter registration information and voting statistics, visit the Tribal Elections webpage. Tribal Voter Registration information is also available on Chahta Achvffa. If you need assistance, please call 580-642-8600.