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 Phoenix, The 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.