Cherokee Nation Chief candidate Bill John Baker has asked the tribe’s Supreme Court to either set aside questionable ballots or order a new election, filings in the case show. The Supreme Court issued an order Monday afternoon requiring all motions, pleadings and briefs be turned in by noon Tuesday for the 6 p.m. hearing.
Baker’s camp has filed three motions with the court, two concerning the ballots and one requesting the justices call for a new election within 30 days.
In one of the filings, Baker and his attorneys ask that the court set aside all ballots that have been erased for one candidate and remarked for another candidate. These ballots were unable to be read by machines due to erasures, white-out markings, smudges or other alterations on the ballot and had to be hand-tallied.
“The Cherokee people deserve better than to have an election result clouded with suspiciously altered hand-tallied absentee ballots,” the filing states.
Absentee voters were allowed to use a No. 2 pencil when filling out their ballot, despite the tribe’s election law stating that only permanent ink should be used when voting. The ballot also instructed voters not to erase anything on the paper ballot after completing it.
Baker also filed a motion requesting that the court allow both parties to inspect and copy some of the altered ballots that were segregated during the recount due to erasure marks making it difficult to infer voter intent. The motion asks that the Cherokee Nation Election Commission turn over those ballots to the justices by 4:30 p.m. today.
If the request to set aside the altered ballots aside is not granted, Baker has also filed a third motion, asking the tribe’s Supreme Court to order a new election within 30 days.
As per Cherokee election law, the Supreme Court is the only entity with the authority to call for a new election when the race’s results cannot be determined with mathematical certainty.