The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court begun hearing testimony Friday morning on irregularities in the principal chief’s election. Principal Chief Chad Smith on Tuesday asked the nation’s supreme court justices to order a machine-conducted recount of ballots cast in the June 25 election or to invalidate the election and call for a new election.
On Friday, the Supreme Court heard election commissioners and staff members before breaking for lunch, with questions coming from the justices and then from each of the campaigns. Other witnesses that were planned to be called for testimony were sequestered for questioning later in the day.
All of the election commissioners present and Terry Rainey, a contractor who had been hired to provide and oversee electronic voting machines, agreed that the tally of votes at the end of the recount was in error.
Several of the commissioners testified that they believe the only category of voters with significant differences was absentee votes following the recount.
Election Commissioner Martha Calico testified that during the hand recount, no ballots were mishandled and vote counters followed counting policy with few mishaps.
An election staff member testified that between the original count and the recount, the vault containing the ballots was opened once.
With all the election commissioners present except Martha Calico, Rainey entered the vault with commissioner Roger Johnson and removed an envelope, the staff member testified.
About an hour later, Rainey returned with the envelope, and the vault was then closed, she said.