Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Election Limbo Day 3: Baker and Smith agree on Something for Once

The Tulsa World is reporting the Baker has filed something in the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, asking the Court to tell the Election Commission to give  the campaign some documents and explanations so we can all figure out what happened in the election.  Right now, all that’s available is the basic information from election night and the final results.

Baker told the World that “We’re trying to get the facts and will accept nothing but an open and transparent process to determine the winner of this important election.”

Apparently the commission is not handing out information that should probably be public anyway, like how many people voted in certain precincts and why the vote changed between Sunday and Monday. 

Baker wants the information Smith does too.  He said on his web site: “What was filed in the Supreme Court today is part of the process, just a request for the production of the records from the election.  We would like to see the same documents and hope the election commission makes them available to all parties.



So hooray, Smith and Baker are united in wanting the information made public.  We’ll see if the Supreme Court agrees.  The case is posted on their web site and you can check out the case yourself.

There’s some very interesting reading in there, and we strongly suggest you read it. Baker’s attorney Kayln Free gives us the first insight into the Baker campaign’s version of events to this point. 

Finally, it’s been reported that tomorrow is the deadline for a request for a recount, so if anyone has information on that issue tomorrow, please send it to us at cherokeetruth@gmail.com.


Monday, June 27, 2011

2 Days after the Election- What the ?

Photo credit Tulsa World
Just when we thought we could take the day off. 

On Sunday morning, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission posted the unofficial results of the election which showed after pulling an all-nighter that Bill John Baker had bested incumbent Chief Chad Smith by 11 votes and won. Even though the results were not official, and Smith had not yet conceded the election, Baker addressed his supporters in a statement saying, "I’m humbled and honored to be the new Chief of the Cherokee Nation. I want to thank everyone who supported me. Your prayers, hard work and dedication made the difference. I think it's fair to say that every vote counted. We've come far, but we have far to go."


This afternoon, the election commission posted the official results on the door. And the world turned upside down for both candidates.
Photo courtesy of a CT reader who posted on our FB page earlier today










Early Sunday morning, unofficial results showed Chad Smith with 7,589 votes and Bill John Baker with 7,600 votes. But this afternoon, the official results showed Smith with 7,609 votes and Baker with 7,602. Chad Smith, according to the Election Commission's official tally, won the office of Principal Chief.

















What happens next? Bill John Baker has until Wednesday to ask for a recount, and we're sure he will because--who wouldn't? So, most assuredly this isn't our last blog of the week. 

Stay tuned! There's no good TV on in the summer anyway.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Day After- Election Results?

Nearly 12 hours after the polls closed yesterday, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission finally posted results. This election was a nail-biter til the last votes were tallied. 

This morning, in a posting of unofficial results, the election commission showed that Bill John Baker took the incumbent Principal Chief Chad Smith by a mere 11 votes. Chad Smith had 7589 votes and Bill John Baker had 7600. 

Preliminary results late into Saturday night showed Smith up by 8 votes, but the election commission spent the entire night considering the validity of "challenge" ballots before coming to the total listed above.

Photo Courtesy Cherokee Phoenix
Bill John Baker celebrated the win this morning, read for yourself coverage in the Cherokee PhoenixThe Tahlequah Daily Press, and The Tulsa World, as well as his Facebook page where he said: 

"I’m humbled and honored to be the new Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Wado to my supporters, your prayers and work made the difference. 

I congratulate Chief Smith on a hard fought campaign and thank him for his years of service.

I have said “we all come from one fire.” Now I pray we can join together to keep our fire burning brighter than ever before.

God Bless America and the Cherokee Nation."




Chief Smith, however, has not conceded the race. He issued the following on his website this morning, saying:


Early this morning, the Election Commission posted unofficial election results to this point, which shows my opponent leading by 11 votes. With such a slim margin among 15,000 ballots, it is important to make sure that each and every one of them were properly cast and were counted correctly.  In the coming days, we will examine the record and make sure our election was conducted properly and accurately under our law.
I want to thank the Election Commission for their hard work to this point, and I want to thank each of my supporters who showed their passion for the Cherokee Nation with their votes.  I want my supporters to know that we will proceed undaunted.   

So what does that mean? We guess the coming days will tell, but it seems obvious he will ask for some sort of recount. We assume that if Smith had won by a handful of votes, Baker would certainly not have conceded without a recount.  


It was a historical election to say the least. We'll be watching what transpires over the next few days and, of course, be reporting back. 


*There will definitely be a runoff for Deputy Chief between Chris Soap, who walked away with the most votes at 7010 and Joe Crittenden who took home 5488 votes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Election Day- ᎯᏁᏧᎢ!

Courtesy cherokee.org
We thought we'd never get here! It's been a long 55 days since we started this blog and we never thought it would get the momentum like it did. Thanks to all who have read, commented, agreed, disagreed, and shared with their friends. It's been fun and it has certainly been an education. One of you asked if we will continue this blog; yes-- but it won't be a "post every day" situation.

So, it's election day. Folks are heading out to the polls, waving signs and getting excited for the dramatic conclusion. You should be able to watch the results come in on the Election Commission's webpage. The polls close at 7 pm tonight. 

Wado, and remember: ᎯᏁᏧᎢ (hi-ne-tsu-i) VOTE.
Courtesy cherokee.org

Friday, June 24, 2011

1 Day Until the Election: Not Much Left to Say



We’ll get this out of the way early today:  it seems like fewer people are online and instead concentrating on getting to the polls.  So, we want to make sure that everyone knows where to go to vote tomorrow.  If something wacky happens later in the day, we’ll try to add that as a blog as well.   Here are the poll locations:

District 1 (Cherokee and Wagoner counties)
TAHLEQUAH

SEQUOYAH HIGH SCHOOL
17091 S. MUSKOGEE AVE
TAHLEQUAH, OK 74464

KEYS
KEYS HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA
26622 S. 540 RD
PARK HILL, OK 74451

HULBERT

TOWN HALL BLDG
111 E. MAIN
HULBERT, OK 74441

BRIGGS

BRIGGS SCHOOL
17210 S. 569 RD
TAHLEQUAH, OK 74464

LOWERY
LOWERY SCHOOL LIBRARY
21132 E. 640 RD
TAHLEQUAH, OK 74464

OKAY

NEW SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER
3701 E. 75TH ST. (MAIN STREET)
OKAY, OK 74446

District 2 (Delaware, Ottawa and Adair counties)

STILWELL
WILMA P. MANKILLER CLINIC 
RT 6, BOX 840
STILWELL, OK 74960

WESTVILLE
WESTVILLE HIGH SCHOOL .
HWY 62 & PARK ST.
WESTVILLE, OK 74965

CAVE SPRINGS
CAVE SPRINGS SCHOOL 
OLD HWY 17 
BUNCH, OK 74931

BELL 
BELL SCHOOL 
RT 5, BOX 4470
STILWELL, OK 74960

GROVE
GROVE COMMUNITY BLDG 
104 W. 3RD ST.
GROVE, OK 74344

JAY
JAY SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER
816 MAIN ST.
JAY, OK 74346

KENWOOD
KENWOOD NUTRITION SITE
4 KENWOOD 13001
SALINA, OK  74347

KANSAS
POLICE DEPT/UTILITY DEPT
150 S. CHEROKEE ST.
KANSAS, OK  74347

CHEWEY
SKELLY SCHOOL 
RT 1, BOX 918
WATTS, OK 74964

AFTON
COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER/CITY HALL 
201 SW 1ST STREET
AFTON, OK 74331


District 3 (Muskogee, McIntosh and Sequoyah counties)

VIAN
VIAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
100 S. BLACKSTONE
VIAN, OK  74962

MARBLE CITY
MARBLE CITY HALL
122 N. MAIN ST.
MARBLE CITY, OK  74945

SALLISAW
SALLISAW FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 
2100 MCGEE 
SALLISAW, OK 74955

MULDROW
CHEROKEE NATION COMMUNITY CENTER
601 MAIN ST
MULDROW, OK 74948

BELFONTE
BELFONTE SCHOOL
475751 ST. HWY 101
MULDROW, OK 74948

WARNER
WARNER MIDDLE SCHOOL 
EVENT CENTER 
1012 5TH AVE.
WARNER, OK 74469

FT GIBSON
FT. GIBSON TOWN HALL
200 W. POPLAR AVE.
FT. GIBSON, OK  74434

MUSKOGEE
THREE RIVERS HEALTH CENTER
1001 S. 41ST STREET EAST
MUSKOGEE, OK 74403


District 4 (Mayes, Craig, Nowata and Washington counties)

BARTLESVILLE
KEELER HTS. COMMUNITY BLDG 
1003 S. VIRGINIA
BARTLESVILLE, OK 74003

VINITA
TOM BUFFINGTON HEIGHTS 
900 MCNIELS  
VINITA, OK 74301

S. COFFEYVILLE
CHEROKEE NATION COMMUNITY BLDG.
215 OKLAHOMA ST
S. COFFEYVILLE, OK  74072

NOWATA
NOWATA SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER
238 N. MAPLE ST.
NOWATA, OK  74048

WELCH
GATEWAY ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH
440 W. 10TH
WELCH, OK  74369

PRYOR
AG BUILDING FAIRGROUNDS 
OLD HWY 20 
PRYOR, OK 74361

SALINA
SALINA AMO COMMINITY CLINIC 
900 N. OWEN WALTERS BLVD
SALINA, OK 74365

LOCUST GROVE
LOCUST GROVE CITY HALL 
109 E. ROSS
LOCUST GROVE, OK 74352

SPAVINAW
SPAVINAW POLICE DEPT/CITY HALL
103 LAKE AVE.
SPAVINAW, OK  74366

District 5 (Tulsa and Rogers counties)

TULSA
TRINITY CHRISTIAN CHURCH
1055 N. GARNETT
TULSA, OK  74116

COLLINSVILLE
COLLINSVILLE LIBRARY
1223 W. MAIN
COLLINSVILLE, OK  74021

CLAREMORE
CLAREMORE VFW 
1717 W. DUPONT
CLAREMORE, OK 74017

CHELSEA
CHELSEA SENIOR CITIZENS 
618 PINE ST        
CHELSEA, OK 74016

OOLOGAH
OOLOGAH ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH
13462 S. HWY 169
OOLOGAH, OK  74053




Thursday, June 23, 2011

2 Days Until The Election- Great Balls of Fire, McFly!

With just a few hours until the polls open Saturday, and walk-in and mail-in voting already under way, there’s not much time left for campaign strategies.  But in the last couple of days, both the Baker and Smith campaigns have sent out some interesting emails. 

Baker’s camp sent out an email with outrageous statements that they claim Baker ISN’T making.  Smith’s campaign sent out an email that includes a video clip of an old Baker ad.  


We agree on many levels.  First and foremost, we agree that Bill John will not do these things.  We also believe he will not strangle kittens.  But as far as we can tell and from what we’ve heard, none of these have ever been campaign issues.  

Gone with the Wind
If Baker’s last minute platform is to tell voters that he promises to treat the Cherokee Nation at least slightly better than Sherman treated Georgia in the Civil War, then super.  We’ll rest easy Saturday night knowing that if Baker is elected, he has promised not to evict us on Sunday.

Back the the Future
Meanwhile, Smith apparently fired up the DeLorean and found an old campaign video of Baker from 1999 and sent it out in an email blast.




It’s 13 seconds of nostalgia.  Apparently this will make the true hearted Cherokee burst into a patriotic rage, seeing Baker and Byrd smiling together as ‘responsible leadership for the Cherokee Nation,’ while Smith is in a chokehold. 

Make like a tree-- and get outta here!
Perhaps Smith’s closing strategy is to post pictures of himself getting a 1.21 gigawatt booty-kickin’ from a Biff-wannabe.  And maybe mix in some inspirational music and glamour shots of Baker.

So here’s today’s TRUTH:  You should check out both candidates for yourself.  Our blog and Facebook notes are a good place to start, as we’ve spent 50+ straight days digging through the campaign material quagmire for the truth.  But please do your own research, study the candidates, use common sense and go vote. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3 Days Until the Election- How to Spend $141K in 30 Days

Yesterday, we talked about how much money the candidates have raised so far and today we’ll talk about where they are spending the cash.  Or, as we pointed out last month, where we know they are spending cash even if it’s not showing up on their expenditure reports yet.

We’ll start with Smith today.  His expenditures for the reporting period were $47,291.16.  The biggest chunk of that, $19,621.34, was used for printing, and the second biggest chunk, $8,879.67 went for postage, so that accounts for all the mailers Cherokee voters have been getting.  His compensation to individuals is the third biggest expenditure, at $6,732.50.  Smith’s vendors are Oklahoma based, for the most part.  All, except for about $300 of his expenses, were paid out to people/businesses in Oklahoma.

Some of our readers have already looked the report over, and pointed out a few things.  One, Smith did copy Baker’s lead and take out some Facebook ads, and possibly some other online ads, and those are not reported yet.  Also, there was a Cherokee Phoenix story talking about a phone poll Smith did, and those expenditures aren’t on here either.

Last month, we pointed out similar discrepancies in the Baker campaign, specifically that there were no expenditures for Cherokee Phoenix ads, even though we’d all seen them.  Those expenditures show up in this month’s Baker report, so maybe there is a time lag or something after the ads or services are rendered and the time they show up as paid on the report. Baker also does not have online ads showing up on this report; but we’re not sure if he’s not run any in a while, or it may just be that it hasn’t shown up on the report yet.

Anyway, it’s something to keep an eye on after the election for both candidates.

Baker’s outspent Smith almost exactly 2-1 during this reporting period, spending $94,446.28.  Baker’s biggest category was $33,774.54 for miscellaneous, which is mostly consulting.  He also had large amounts for printing ($30,639.26) and postage ($17,889.48), and his compensation to individuals was $8,196 for the month.

Approximately $53,000 of Baker’s expenditures this month went to firms in Washington D.C. or nearby Potomac, Maryland.   So Baker spent more money in DC this past month than Smith did on his entire campaign in the same time period.   

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 Days Until the Election: Smith, Baker and the Benjamin$

Candidates have submitted their third campaign finance report, and the last one before the election.  It’s out last chance as voters to see who they are getting their money from, and where they are spending it, before we go vote.  There are more finance reports due after the election, so we’ll still be able to find out more, but by then, we will have elected our Chief.

Since time is short, we’ll just do two blogs on finance here in the past week, one on the amount of money raised by each candidate, and one on the expenditures of each campaign.  Also, these aren't posted on the Cherokee Phoenix web site, so we'll have to put them online ourselves.  

Today, we’ll start with Bill John Baker.  At the end of his last report, his campaign had about $17,000.  He’s raised $44,746.47 since then, and loaned his campaign a whopping $46,000.  That brings his total loans to his campaign to $115,000.  As we’ve said before, that’s a lot of scratch for a guy who reports an income of less than $50,000 a year to the IRS.  His family has also donated $20,000 more, so that’s a big commitment from folks named Baker to this election.

He had 84 donors chipping in to add up to the $44,746.47 total, which averages out to almost $533 per donor.  His previous donors average $625 each. Baker had a listing for $500 in anonymous cash, which, as we mentioned in the last campaign finance blog for Smith,  is perfectly legal, as long as the anonymous cash is less than $1000 for the total campaign.

Overall, Baker has raised $174,074.75 from others, including $20,000 from his family.  His loans to his own campaign total $115,018.49, which brings the total amount of money available to the campaign so far to $289,093.

Baker has $13,507.08 left in his campaign account, and no telling how much more in his personal piggy bank that he’s willing to chip in during the final few days.

At the end of his last report, Smith had about $42,000 in his account, and he raised $59,299.14 since then. 

He had 138 contributors, which means his average donation was about $429.  His previous donors average was $700.

Overall Smith has raised $244,944.94 from others.  He’s loaned his campaign $100, which brings the total amount of money available to his so far to  $245,044.94.

Smith has $54,348.75 left in his campaign, as of the end of June.

That means through this reporting period, Baker has spent more than $275,000, and Smith has spent about $190,000. 

Overall, Smith has raised more money from others, but Baker, with his six-figure loan, has more money to spend, and has spent more. 

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how each candidate is spending their money.

Monday, June 20, 2011

5 Days Until The Election- Partying Like It’s 1997


We decided to wait until after tonight’s council meeting to do the TRUTH tonight, and we’re kinda glad we did.  We had some campaign finance stuff ready to go, but there was some interesting action at the council meeting, so we’ll save that other stuff for later. 

We watched the video stream, and then afterwards got an email from Chad Smith’s campaign.  The email referenced a vote tonight, which repealed a couple of laws that have actually been referenced in campaign material and have been the subject of Cherokee Phoenix Truth Reports as well as some of our reports.

Basically, the council tonight was repealing the laws where Bill John Baker had made motions in illegal meetings (meetings without a quorum) in 1997.  Smith said during the council meeting, and in his news release, that Baker pushed these illegal measures when he should have known better.  To paraphrase, Smith basically said that the Constitution says a quorum is 2/3 of council, and that third grade math shows that 2/3=10/15, so a council meeting with 9 doesn’t work.

In 1997, Baker (and eight other council members) ignored that and went ahead with their illegal meetings.  Apparently, the repeal of this illegal law has been in front of the Rules Committee already this month and Smith’s email included a link to the May 2011 Rules Committee meeting, where he says just last month Baker voted twice to table a measure that would repeal the illegal laws and then finally voted against repealing them.  Check out this link to watch for yourself. (shuffle forward about an hour and 20 minutes or so into the video)

After viewing the link, that’s right.  However, tonight Baker reversed himself and asked to be a sponsor of the bill repealing the illegal actions of the 1997 council of which he was a part.  He made no explanation, so we won’t hazard a guess why he changed his mind, but not every council member did.  The final vote was 13-3 in favor of repealing the bill.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Baker has to say about why he changed his mind on the vote, and if he acknowledges that the 1997 actions were illegal or wrong.  He’s avoided that one so far.  Smith, on the other hand, is starting to pick at Baker’s record.  Baker has been hitting Smith’s record hard,  often taking things out of context to do so, but now is Baker’s opportunity to give us some context as to why he changed his vote and to defend his 1997 actions.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

6 Days Before the Election: Happy Father's Day


Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, and it’s a great time to remember the principles and traditions passed down from our Cherokee fathers, grandfathers and way on back, that have helped make us who we are today as individuals and as a great Cherokee Nation.

Less than a week before the election, both candidates took time out to be with/talk about family on their Facebook pages.

Baker wrote: “My father brought me up with a strong moral code, a belief in hard work, and a respect and love for all men and women. Today I honor and remember him, and thank ALL the fathers out there for what you do.”

Smith spent the day biking with his daughter  Anaweg on the Remember the Removal ride, a group of bicyclists tracing the Trail of Tears from Georgia to Cherokee Nation, and posted a picture with her on his Facebook page.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

7 Days Until the Election- Dueling Emails & Airborne Plumbing

One week before the election both campaigns sent out emails, so we’ll try to be timely and let you know what they’re all about, and how true they might be.

Watch for Flying Sinks!
The first one we saw was from Sherry Baker, Bill John's wife. She talked about how great Bill John is, and that it’s time for a change at Cherokee Nation.  She said "Over the next week you will see Chad Smith throw everything including the Kitchen Sink at my husband.”  Then she picked up some porcelain herself and pointed out that Smith had 75 volunteers working yesterday, but claimed most of them were Cherokee Nation employees who were off the clock and were only there “because they are scared for their jobs.” 

It’s not clear if she meant they were scared Bill John would fire them if he won, or scared that Smith would fire them if they didn’t help him.  We ran that through the ‘what’s more likely’ filter and here’s what we came up with:  is it more likely that Smith would fire the 3500 Cherokee Nation employees who didn’t take time off work yesterday to help him? (note: there were no mass firings after Smith's re-elections in 2003 & 2007) Or is it more likely that Baker would fire the 75 employees who did take time off work to help Smith? 

Just to be clear, we’ve been contacted by one of those 75 people, and that person took the email to mean that Baker plans to clean house after the election and that person feels pretty intimidated.

Smith’s email to his supporters was somewhat different.  With a brief introduction, it was an editorial from the Tulsa World, endorsing Smith.  The endorsement, and Smith’s email, had nothing negative to say about Baker, only praising Smith’s accomplishments and track record. 

I guess the kitchen sink will come later.

That’s the truth about what happened today. Only one week to go!

Friday, June 17, 2011

8 Days Until the Election: Who is the Cherokee Misleader?




Chad Smith launched a new web site, called Cherokee Misleader  the other day, and Baker responded with an email today from former council member Chuck Hoskin, blasting it.

So what’s the TRUTH about all this?  Smith’s web site says it is exposing Baker’s lies and negative campaigning.  Baker’s email response says Smith is the negative one, and that Smith’s site is “full of made up Bill John quotes (complete with a disgusting photo of a burning Cherokee Nation Flag).”


Smith’s web site shows the orange Cherokee Nation flag, and it appears to have been digitally altered to be ripped and dirty.  There are no flames.  Just because something is orange doesn’t mean it’s on fire.  Sometimes, it’s just orange.  Some people might not like the image of the flag, but it’s wrong to say it’s ‘a burning Cherokee flag.’

Hoskin also offers up an unsubstantiated allegation  new information about the plane (again!) that Smith ‘took it for a test drive before he ordered its purchase,’ along with the usual plane stuff (again)*.  The Cherokee Phoenix has a lot of information on the plane and we’ve covered it a ton before but suffice it to say that Cherokee Nation Businesses does have a plane, Smith has used it, Baker has used it (but far less frequently), and the businesses and other government employees have used it.

But the real TRUTH check needs to come on Smith’s site, which claims to be setting the record straight.

On the home page, it says that Baker ‘says he wants to hire Cherokees, but the truth is he is sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to Washington DC consultants…”

Interestingly, the Smith campaign says it differently on the tab labeled ‘Baker’s campaign’ where they instead claim ‘he has paid almost $100,000 to political consulting firms…’ 

The TRUTH is Baker has spent a ton of money on DC consultants, but evidence available so far through campaign finance reports might support more than $100,000 but not “hundreds” with an ‘s.’

On the last header, labeled Baker’s Untruth(s), there are seven categories.  A lot of them have already been covered, and indeed, the site points to the Cherokee Phoenix Truth Report more than once to back up its claims.

We’ll try to cover the categories quickly.  The airplane (Again!), which we won’t rehash, but you can see the links above to find out more TRUTH on that.

Casino corruption, which hasn’t been much of an issue. It lists a long line of openness and accountability measures and awards and points out that all the directors of the CNB are Cherokee.  Everything checks out there.

Employment, which blows up Baker’s claim that Cherokee employment at Hard Rock is less that 1/3.  It uses a Cherokee Phoenix truth report as factual evidence, rather than just a claim.  So that checks out too.

Housing, which we, and the Cherokee Phoenix have covered before.  This checks out as TRUE, though both sides have different methods of doing housing services.

Pay Raise issue:  Smith points out that Baker pointedly refused to turn down the raise during the debate, while Smith has already said he wouldn’t take it.  The site says Baker also accepted a $6000 travel allowance.  None of this has been refuted and checks out as Truth.

On one titled “Shakedown”, the site claims that Baker said: “Smith-Soap volunteers are breaking the law just by campaigning.”  This may be the one Hoskin is referring to as a made up quote, because we don’t remember it anywhere.  Without documentation, it’s tough to show if/when Baker said it.  If someone shows otherwise where Baker said it, we’ll change and point that out. 

What we do now about this subject is that Baker has accused employees of illegal activity, and we do know that they weren’t doing anything illegal.  We’ve talked about that already, and Baker should stop saying stuff like this since it isn’t true.

The last one is a campaign promise by Baker to provide prescriptions by mail, and the web site points out that the Cherokee Nation already does that.  Point for Smith on that one.

The summary is that Baker has thrown a lot of stuff out there during this campaign that is bad about Smith.  Some what he says is false, some of it is true, and some of it has some truth mixed in with stuff that isn’t true or takes stuff out of context.  All of that stuff from Baker’s campaign is playing out like a lot of campaigns we see outside the Cherokee Nation, but it’s rare that Cherokee elections have been this confrontational.  Smith’s web site attempts to put his version of the truth out there, and for the most part, his version checks out.


*The marked out portions and new additions to this sentence came after we got an invoice showing that the allegations had merit.  They were unsubstantiated when released, but were later backed up with documentation.  Thanks to the source who sent us the document.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

9 Days Until the Election- Election Truths VS Myths

Courtesy Cherokee Phoenix

One theme we’ve noticed more than once in the comments on our Facebook page, is the notion that Chad Smith was elected by the ‘at-large’ voters, those who live out of state or at least outside of the 14 county area.

So, at we decided to find the Truth, which just takes a little bit of math.  In 2007, Smith won 59% of the vote (8,035), and his opponent, Stacy Leeds, won 41% (5675).   The election results are available online, so we checked it out. When you open the link, click on General Election Results and it will open an Excel Spreadsheet, and that's where we're getting the numbers we will use below.

The short version (before we get into the math that might make your eyes glaze over), is that in 2007, Smith won the overall walk-in vote, the mail-in vote by people who voted in-district, and the mail in vote for at-large voters.

Here are the totals.  You have to make one assumption, but we’ll get to that, and if you look at the results very long, we think you’ll agree it’s a fair assmption:








2007 Election
Type of voter Smith raw Smith % Leeds raw Leeds %
walkin 4130 51% 3705 49%
at-large * 1975 73.50% 712 26.50%
in district mail-in 1930 61% 1258 39%
Totals 8035 59% 5675 41%

*At-large council races went 74% and 73% in favor of candidates supported by Smith; 73.5 was used as an average.  If you disagree with this assumption and think Leeds won a larger share of the at-large vote, then that means her numbers would go down and Smith's would go up for the in-district mail-in vote, because we are only talking about how to divide the overall mail-in vote, which went 3,905 to Smith and 1,970 to Leeds.


To break down the walk-in vote, The Truth is that Smith won in 18 of the 31 precincts, Leeds won 12, and one, Muldrow, was a dead heat at 161 votes each.

Smith won seven of the nine districts, winning everywhere but Adair and Cherokee County.

Smith did win the overall mail-in vote by a larger margin than the walk-in vote.  Absentee voters voted 66% for Smith and 34% for Leeds, but that is a little deceptive, because most of those voters who voted by mail live in-district.  There were 2,687 people who voted at-large and another 3,138 who voted by mail but live in district.

There were actually more Cherokees who voted by mail who lived IN the districts than who live outside.

There were 2,687 votes in one at-large council race, and 2,676 votes in another.  Both seats were won by council members who Smith supported and likewise they supported Smith.  Jack Baker got 74% of the vote in his race, and Julia Coates got 73% of the vote.

Let’s do a little more math-- this is where that asterisk on the above chart comes into play. If Smith got approximately the same percentage of votes from at-large Cherokees as Baker and Coates, he would have won 1,975 at-large votes and Leeds would have gotten at-large 712 votes.

Smith’s total mail-in votes were 3,905, so if you subtract out 1,975, you have 1,930 in-district votes by mail for Smith.  Leeds got 1,970 total mail-in votes and if you subtract our 712, you would have 1,258 in district votes by mail.  So Smith got about 61% of the in-district mail in vote, and Leeds got about 39% of the in-district mail-in vote.

So here’s what it all means:
More people vote by mail in-district than out.
More people vote in person than by mail
In 2007, Smith won both the walk-in and mail-in votes.  Mail-in votes did not decide the election.
The numbers do show that Smith in 2007 was more popular with at-large citizens than he was with walk-in voters but he was still elected chief by both segments of the voting public.

I’m sure the supporters of the losing candidate, whoever he may be, will have reasons why they are unhappy.  Hopefully they will be real reasons, not the rumors we’ve debunked today. 

Coming soon (as soon as we can get our hands on ‘em): the last pre-election campaign finance reports.