Cherokee Election Update

Tahlequah, OK – Cherokee 'winner' says incumbent should step down

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) The newly elected chief of the 300,000-member Cherokee Nation says the incumbent should give up the post.

Bill John Baker defeated Chad Smith by 266 votes in a June 25 election made official last Thursday. Smith wants another recount, but Baker said Tuesday that Cherokee law mandates only one recount.

The tribe's Supreme Court set arguments for Friday. The winner will lead Oklahoma's largest tribe, which is one of the biggest in the nation.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission quit Tuesday. The panel said June 26 that Baker won, but its certified results a day later said Smith had won. Thursday's recount ended with 251 fewer votes counted. Chairman Roger Johnson's resignation letter says his character has been damaged, and he blamed the media for that.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.