Cherokee Election Dispute

Tahlequah, OK – Okla. tribal court to determine chief's race winner

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) The Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court will determine who won last month's disputed principal chief election.

If the court finds there is enough evidence that votes were miscounted or not counted at all, it's possible the justices will call for a new election. Under Cherokee law, that duty falls to incumbent Chief Chad Smith, who remains in office until Aug. 14.

A recount last week determined that longtime councilman Bill John Baker had defeated Smith by 266 votes in the June 25 election, but Smith wants another recount and filed appeals with the tribal supreme court.

Baker was first declared the winner by 11 votes, but the election commission certified Smith as the winner by seven votes the next day.