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If Votes are Tossed; Baker Still Wins

Bill John Baker
Bill John Baker


Tulsa, OK – Math fails Smith in appeal of Cherokee election

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Even if votes from every eligible descendant of slaves once owned by the Cherokee tribe are not allowed to count in a special election for chief of the tribe, challenger Bill John Baker still would unseat Former Chief Chad Smith by more than 300 votes.

Smith filed a petition Monday appealing the election results that were announced Oct. 8. He's asking the tribe's Supreme Court to prevent Baker from being sworn into office until a federal court decides whether the slaves' descendants, called freedmen, should be considered Cherokee citizens.

About 1,233 of the 2,800 freedmen were eligible to vote in the contest, which began Sept. 24 and ended Oct. 8. Many of the freedmen were figured to have supported Baker in his race against Smith.