The tight Cherokee Nation chief election will now be hand counted beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. Initially, challenger Bill John Baker was named the un-official winner of the Cherokee Nation election on Sunday, by 11 votes
On Monday, the official results showed incumbent Chief Chad Smith the winner by seven votes. Both candidates hope Thursday’s recount will end the dispute.
“I think it’s black eye on the Cherokee Nation, I think it’s a travesty to the citizens that voted because they ought to know that their vote counted,” said candidate Bill John Baker.
Bill John Baker says during the time between the release of the un-official results and when the election was certified, the Cherokee Election Commission added 22 additional votes, swinging the election in favor of Chief Chad Smith.
“When we started asking the tough questions, the election commission lawyered up and started stonewalling us,” said Baker.
Cherokee Election Commission officials tell 2News there was never a formal recount before the results were certified. They say they checked the math and reviewed the data and that’s where they found the discrepancy.
The Baker camp says the commission is not providing all the paperwork requested.
“What we didn’t get is a detail of how the number changed, poll books or copies of poll books so that we could count how many people really voted,” said Baker.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith says with a tight race like this, if he were on the other side of the tables he would request a recount as well.
“With a seven vote lead you should be concerned,” said Smith.
Smith doesn’t feel there were issues with the way the election commission handled the results.
Full Article: The Cherokee Nation Chief election will go to a recount.