After a quiet Independence Day weekend, the fireworks in the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief race could reignite as early as Tuesday morning. Tuesday is the soonest that the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court can rule on a request for an injunction filed by current principal chief Chadwick “Corntassel” Smith just before 5 p.m. Friday.
In his petition to the court, Smith demanded that the election commission finish Thursday night’s recount using a machine. The results of Thursday night’s hand recount were certified as official, but the Smith campaign maintains the recount is incomplete because there is a 251-vote discrepancy between the sum of the votes counted Thursday and those in the original certified results announced Monday.
According to a sworn affidavit from Melanie Knight, the Cherokee Nation’s secretary of state and Smith’s representative during the first few hours of the recount, Election Commission attorney Lloyd Cole of Stilwell told Smith, challenger Bill John Baker, both of their attorneys and herself prior to the recount that the number of ballots counted Thursday afternoon and evening would be the same as the total from the results certified June 27.
The recount named Baker the winner by a 266-vote margin, overturning the certified results posted June 27 that listed Smith as the victor by seven votes. Those results reversed the unofficial count announced early June 26 that named Baker the winner by 11 votes after the election commission spent all night reviewing about 250 challenge votes.
If the Supreme Court denies Smith’s request for an injunction, he still has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file an appeal.
The court has until 5 p.m. Thursday to set a hearing schedule for any appeals filed by the deadline. As per tribal statute, any appeal trials stemming from the election must be concluded by Friday, or if a continuance is requested, July 13.
Baker’s campaign issued a statement Friday asking Smith to concede so that the nation could move forward, an attitude some voters are already taking.
“It is a new era for the Cherokee Nation,” said Oklahoma State University senior Katie Dawes, a Cherokee Nation citizen from Hulbert. “There’s a new chief and some new council members. I’m excited to see the direction that this new wave will bring.”
Full Article: Cherokee chief looks to justices for recount | Tulsa World.