Cherokee Election Counting Votes

Muskogee, OK – Cherokee Nation election officials say it could be Wednesday before unofficial results from the Sept. 24 election of the tribe's principal chief are known.

Tribal Election Commission Chairwoman Susan Plumb told the Muskogee Phoenix that a three-day process was adopted Thursday in an effort to provide "an accurate, fair and impartial election."

She said the count will start Sunday with the votes cast Sept. 24 and on walk-in voting days. The count of absentee votes will follow. She says nearly 12,000 absentee ballots were requested.

The election was scheduled after the June 25 election between former Principal Chief Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker was invalidated.

Smith and Baker were each twice declared the winner and questions were raised about how the ballots were handled and stored.