The Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission on Dec. 10 unanimously voted to purchase election equipment from Texas-based Hart InterCivic with the expectations of running its own elections in 2015. Election Services Director Connie Parnell said she first contacted the Tribal Rights Employment Office to see if there were any Cherokee-owned election manufacturers from which the EC could purchase the equipment. After learning there were no such companies, the EC moved forward with finding a provider. “There is not a lot of companies left. They’ve all bought out each other,” Parnell said. “And of those that are left – ES&S, Dominion, Hart InterCivic – those are your three major companies that produce election equipment. And they are the manufacturers. They aren’t the middle man.” Parnell said she contacted five companies but only two were interested in working toward the EC’s goal of running its own elections, Hart InterCivic being one.
Oklahoma: Automated Election Services consultant denies changing chief race outcome | Cherokee Phoenix
The president of the election service hired by the tribe to help conduct the June 25 general election denied changing the outcome of the principal chief’s race by annotating a tally sheet.
Terry Rainey, president of Automated Election Services, testified he did not know who was winning the election in the early hours of June 26 despite being part of the counting process. During questioning by Tim Baker, Principal Chief-elect Bill John Baker’s brother and attorney, Rainey also stated no one from either Bill John Baker’s campaign or Principal Chief Chad Smith’s campaign contacted him about election results between Sunday and Monday mornings.
Rainey has taken the witness stand several times in Smith’s repeal of the principal chief’s race, which Bill John Baker was certified the winner of after a June 30 recount.
The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court interrupted its third day of hearing Principal Chief Chad Smith’s challenge to the June 25 election results to do a little counting of its own.
Shortly after Chief-elect Bill John Baker’s team completed its direct examination of Terry Rainey, president of Automated Election Services, the court ordered an examination of the absentee ballots and the corresponding mailing envelopes.
Rainey told the court that comparison would be the best way to establish a base line to determine whether Smith’s allegations of “vanishing votes” are credible.
Concerns that some 273 absentee ballots were not tallied in the recount to determine the next leader of the Cherokee Nation seemed to evaporate Saturday. Two witnesses testified the absentee ballots counted by hand immediately after the election because they could not be tabulated automatically were counted and tallied during the recount.
The first witness observed the recount on behalf of Principal Chief Chad Smith. The second witness, called by Chief-elect Bill John Baker, counted and tallied the ballots at issue. Valerie Giebel, a University of Tulsa law student and Smith campaign volunteer, said during direct examination she saw things that caused concern. But she said she saw counters use a calculator to tally the hand-counted absentee ballots and the “total was moved over to the tally sheet.”