Second Recount Set For Saturday In Election Of Cherokee Chief

Friday, July 15th 2011, 4:19 pm
By: News On 6

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -- A hand recount of the ballots in the election for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation takes place Saturday in Tahlequah.

7/12/2011 Related Story: Cherokee Nation Orders Second Recount In Chief Election

The recount will not decide the winner in the election but will give the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justices "an actual, physical count" of the votes cast in the 2011 general election, according to Attorney General Diane Hammons.

About 15,000 votes were cast during the June 25 election. Unofficial returns the next morning gave Baker the lead by 11 votes, but the next day the tribal election commission declared Smith the winner by seven votes.

Baker then asked for a hand recount of ballots, which showed him with a 266-vote lead. Smith then appealed those results.

On Monday, July 11, a recount of absentee ballots led to accusations of ballot box stuffing.  The recount proved inconclusive, forcing the Supreme Court to rule all of the votes cast had to be tallied yet again.

7/11/2011 Related Story: Baker, Smith Exchange War Of Words Over Cherokee Chief Election

"Hopefully at the end of the day tomorrow they will have a definitive count of the number of votes cast by each citizen," Hammons said.

"I don't know if the court will address the other issues which are the issues of non-citizens voting and the challenge ballots."

On Friday, both Chad Smith and Chief Elect Bill John Baker filed recommendations for recount procedures including the number of ballot counters, witnesses and the manner in which contested ballots should be handled.

Read Chad Smith's Recommendations

Read Bill John Baker's Recommendations

News On 6 will have a news crew in Tahlequah Saturday for the latest in the Cherokee Principal Chief election.