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Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Delays Decision In Race For Chief

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Bill John Baker and Chad Smith [File photo] Bill John Baker and Chad Smith [File photo]
Scene from the video released by the Chad Smith campaign. Scene from the video released by the Chad Smith campaign.

NewsOn6.com & Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma --  The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court made no decision Tuesday evening regarding the disputed election results for the Cherokee Nation Chief.

In a hearing held Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court delayed making a decision to allow time to consider the motions filed by both Chad Smith and Bill John Baker earlier Tuesday.

The hearing only lasted about an hour, but it gave attorneys for both Bill John Baker and Chad smith a chance to explain to the Supreme Court justices what they wanted to see come of this election and why.

7/18/2011 Related Story: Cherokee Nation Chief Still Undecided After Weekend Recount

"We feel confident that our attorneys made the arguments that the Cherokee people need and deserve a new election," Baker said.

Chief-Elect Bill John Baker filed a motion to "set aside altered ballots because they are spoiled." Altered ballots refer to ballots that have erasure marks and make it hard to tell which candidate the voter chose. According to Baker, there are about forty altered ballots.

Another Baker motion asks the court to allow both parties to inspect the altered ballots and copy some of those ballots "to narrow the issues of concern and the number of ballots in question."

Baker filed a third motion, stating that if the Cherokee Supreme Court does not set the altered ballots aside, as requested in his first motion, then the court should order a new election for chief within the next 30 days.

Baker said he's comfortable just starting from scratch.

"With the supporters that I have and the volunteers that have come to my aide, that we can't lose," he said.

Chief Chad Smith asked the Supreme Court to confirm the election results from the recount that was court-ordered and concluded on Sunday, July 17, 2011. That recount resulted in Smith winning by five votes.

"We ended the day as we started the day," Smith said. "Every time the ballots have been counted, I've come out ahead."

But the count was not an official recount, rather just evidence for the Supreme Court to use in their decision.

So the question is, can the court confirm results from an unofficial recount?

"We're hopeful that the court will defer to the election commission, but if they don't, we'll have a new election," Smith said.

Chad Smith also released a video Tuesday of the surveillance footage taken inside the room where the election ballots were stored. 

In the news release, Smith says the video was reviewed by the Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court concerning the election.   He says the video shows the ballots from the election were properly preserved.

Go to http://www.chadsmith.com/news.html to watch the video.

Chad Smith also released a statement concerning the video:  

Bill John Baker owes the Cherokee people an apology.  He said the election commission stuffed the ballot box, and changed numbers when they went into the room where the ballots were stored.  The Supreme Court saw the video and they know Bill John isn't telling the truth about the election commissioners and their employees.  That's why they let the recount move forward after seeing this video, because they knew the ballot box seals were intact.  Every Cherokee needs to see the video too, so they can see first hand that Bill John isn't telling the truth about what has happened in this election.  The video shows that everything the commissioners and their employees said at the courthouse about retrieving envelopes is true.  It also proves Baker wasn't telling the truth about them stuffing the ballot box or changing the result of the election.  These commissioners, who Bill John helped appoint, were just doing their job.  Now he owes these people, and all Cherokee people, an apology for not telling the truth.

During Tuesday's hearing, the court asked the attorney for the election commission if the election commission could hold a new election within 30 days. The attorney said the commission confirms that they can make that happen.

The Supreme Court said it will take two days to consider the motions before making a written judgement.

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