Sunday, July 31, 2011

Election Limbo Day 36- Deputy Chief/Chief

We’ve heard that S. Joe Crittenden will be sworn in on August 14 as Deputy Chief, and that at some point he’ll be acting chief.  Now we know that Crittenden will be in charge of the Nation until at least September 24th, depending on how fast the votes are counted and how long after that it takes to make things official, certified, etc.

So what’s the process for all this?  Does Crittenden take his Deputy Chief oath on August 14th, do a 180 and take the oath as Principal Chief?  Who is Deputy Chief then?  The Constitution says that it is the Speaker of the Council.  Right now, that’s Meredith Frailey, but we don’t know what that means a couple of weeks from now.  Is she still Speaker on August 14?  If so, is she automatically the Deputy Chief?  Or does the new council get a chance to elect (or re-elect) a new Speaker?  If so, when would they do that?  And who is Deputy Chief until then?  And does S. Joe get paid Principal Chief money for his short term as the big boss?

The council does have a special rules committee meeting scheduled for August 18, and a regular council meeting on August 22.  So they could address those things at that time. 

But until then, who knows what’s really going to happen?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Election Limbo Day 35: That’s Your Opinion

Opinions are like uvulas: everybody’s got one.  But when the Attorney General trots out her opinion about the rules for the next election, we guess we best take notice.

New yesterday, but kinda drowned out by the new election, is the idea that newly registered voters won’t get to elect the Principal Chief.  The only voters who were eligible to vote last time around will get to vote in September. 

On several occasions in this election, we’ve heard Baker and Smith both tell us that every vote counts.  We found out of course, during the recount and court process, that there were some votes that weren’t counted, (challenge ballots) and some votes that Baker didn’t want counted (the mysteriously vanishing votes from the recount).

The election commission apparently has more than 3,000 voters who want to vote, but registered after the deadline of March 31.  The Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation interprets the election law to read that the end of March is the deadline for the whole election year, not just for the general election.  So if you are one of those folks who got their voter registration forms in a day late, April Fools.  You still can’t vote this time around.

The other opinion said that campaign finance rules from the first election still apply.  That should make Baker happy, since he asked the Supreme Court to decide things that way a couple of weeks ago.  Both candidates had their share of donors who reached the $5000 contribution limit  (see our campaign finance blogs), but this is arguably worse for Smith, because there are no limitations on what Baker’s biggest contributor can give:  Baker has sunk more than $115,000 cash into his campaign.   

At least we know some of the rules for the upcoming election.  Now its our job as citizens to go vote.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Election Limbo Day 34: Save the Date!

Chad Smith has called the new election for September 24th.  The Election Commission and Smith apparently worked together on it and set the date.  There will be a couple of weeks for people to request an absentee ballot (until August 12), then the absentee ballots will be mailed out the week before the Cherokee National Holiday.  We think the holiday will be quite a spectacle this year, with both campaigns in full force and S. Joe Crittenden giving the State of the Nation speech.  Depending on how long it takes after the election to certify, recount and appeal, it could be October before our election is over.

A couple of important things to note: 1) if you are an At-Large voter, the ONLY way you can vote is via absentee ballot. If you just show up at a precinct on September 24 and cast an At-Large Challenge Ballot, your vote will NOT be counted. There was much voter confusion over this in the general election on June 25th. 

2) If you requested an absentee ballot for the general or run-off election, the EC should send you one for the September 24th election. 

3) If you want an absentee ballot, the only way for you to get one is to request the ballot in writing. So, if someone just calls and asks you if you'd like to vote absentee and you say "yes," that doesn't mean you are getting a ballot. Download this form here and fax it to the Election Commission at (918) 458-6101 (or mail it or drop it off). Yes, we are aware this form was for the run-off election last week, but just write "Sept. 24th Election" at the top for clarification. The information is what is important, not the form itself. We imagine there will be a new form available on the EC website, but as of tonight it was not.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Election Limbo Days 32 & 33- Tribal Council

How have we gone this long
without a Survivor reference?
We haven’t done much analysis of the council races, but things will be different after August 14.   Half the council seats (8) were up for election.  As far as incumbents go, one council member, Janelle Fullbright, did not draw an opponent and is back on the council for four more years.  One, Chris Soap, chose to run for Deputy Chief instead.  Tina Glory Jordan, Bradley Cobb, Cara Cowan-Watts, and Julia Coates each had opponents.  Cobb was the only incumbent who lost, in a new district.  Finally, one race pitted two council members against each other, Jodie Fishinghawk and Harley Buzzard.  Fishinghawk won that one.

Two new seats were created, and they were won by Lee Keener and David Walkingstick.

So the new council looks like this:

District One (Cherokee and Wagoner County):  Tina Glory Jordan, David Walkingstick and Bill John Baker (for a few more weeks or two more years).

District Two (Adair, Delaware and Ottawa County): Jodie Fishinghawk, Curtis Snell and an open seat that will be vacated by Joe Crittenden on August 14 when he is sworn in as the Deputy Chief

District Three (Muskogee, McIntosh, Sequoyah Counties): Don Garvin, Janelle Fullbright, David Thornton

District Four (Mayes, Craig, Nowata, Craig, Washington County): Dick Lay, Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Meredith Frailey.

District Five: (Tulsa and Washington Counties):  Buel Anglen, Cara Cowan-Watts, Lee Keener

At-Large:  Julia Coates and Jack Baker

The short version is that Cobb, Soap, Crittenden and Buzzard are going to be off the council, replaced by Lay, Keener, Walkingstick and whoever replaces Crittenden on the council.  Since Cobb, Soap and Buzzard were generally pretty friendly to Smith, he’s going to have a less friendly council to work with if he gets re-elected.  Baker, if he’s elected, will have more friends on the council than he does now.  Depending on how it shakes out in the council races, he might pick up a couple of more friends.

Since a chief has to work with the council to get his initiatives passed, these will be important things to think about moving ahead.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Election Limbo Day 31: Church Lady Edition

It looks like we’ll have a special meeting before the special election.  Isn’t that special?  On August 5, the council will meet to possibly change the election law before the special election.  It seems like there are some things that might need changing (recount procedures anyone?), but given that the new election is just a few weeks away, it will be interesting to see what kind of changes the council wants to make, and if there is time to make those changes in a way that doesn’t make life more difficult for the election commission.  

Also on the agenda are some nominations:  Election Commissioner:  Susan Plumb; Marshal: Sharon Wright; Attorney General: Diane Hammons.  Speaker of the Council Meredith Frailey wanted this special meeting to address these issues quickly, and asked Smith to call it, because terms were either up or expiring soon.

We’re sure this will turn into a campaign issue, but it shouldn’t.  Baker likely won’t want to do anything Smith proposes (remember when Baker said the new election should be held on August 13th? That was a ludicrous proposal by any stretch), but hopefully our elected officials will make judgments based on people’s qualifications rather than today’s supercharged political climate.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Election Limbo Day 30: Whaddya Know, it’s S. Joe!

Photo Courtesy of the Cherokee Phoenix
The Deputy Chief results have been certified, and S. Joe Crittenden is the man. Like we talked about yesterday, it was really pretty close, 53% to 47%, but it looks like a landslide compared to the Principal Chief’s race.

Another couple of interesting notes about Crittenden's win:  Soap got about 1300 fewer votes than he did before, and Crittenden got several hundred more.  But, Soap got about 47% of the vote both times.

Both Soap and Crittenden were pretty classy in their statements to the media.  Maybe this is a sign things will get a little saner moving forward.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Election Limbo Day 29- Deputy Chief Elected

Photo Credit Cherokee Phoenix
Last night, the Cherokee people successfully elected a deputy chief, and on August 14th, S. Joe Crittenden will be sworn in along with all the other new council members. But, he will also begin acting as Principal Chief starting that day until a new Chief is successfully elected and then sworn in.

The final certified results showed Crittenden receiving 6478 votes (53.17%) to Soap's 5706 votes (46.83%). A little more than 12,000 folks voted, so voter turnout was lower to the tune of about 3000 votes.

Three council races were also decided--In District 1, David Walkingstick trounced Mark Vance garnering almost 70% of the vote.  In District 2, Jodie Fishinghawk beat Harley Buzzard by collecting 65% of the vote, and it was a close race in District 4 when Dick Lay beat incumbent Dr. Bradley Cobb. Only 80 votes separated the two.

Now that this is behind us-- we still have another election upcoming. We don't know yet when the new election will be held, but expect that announcement to come any day. But what can we expect?

You can expect we will be here, sorting thru the allegations and digging for the truth. Although, in this election, even when the truth is presented to people, some don't seem to care or believe it. 

If you've not read this blog since the beginning, and have some time to kill, we would encourage you to start at the beginning-- back to Monday, May 2nd, 54 days before the original election. In the last three months, there have been rumors, misinformation and exaggeration. And we've gotten to the bottom of most of it. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Election Limbo Day 28: Deputy Decision?

Tonight’s election results should come in online at after the polls close at 7.   There are run-offs for three council races and Deputy Chief.  Chris Soap got almost 47% of the vote in the general election, and Joe Crittenden got 36%. 

The other run-offs feature a couple of council members going against each other , Jodie Fishinghawk and Harley Buzzard in District 2.  Fishinghawk got more than 40% of the vote the first time around, making it an uphill election for Buzzard.  In District One, it’s two new comers going against each other, Mark Vance and David Walkingstick.  Walkingstick got almost twice as many votes as Vance the first time around, but only 36% of the total in a crowded field.   And in District 4, which is Mayes, Washington, Nowata and Craig counties,  only about 50 votes separated incumbent Brad Cobb from challenger Nick Lay.

Tomorrow, (or late tonight) we'll know a little bit more truth about what our government will look like.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Election Limbo Day 27: Deputy Chief = Principal Chief

The Deputy Chief Principal Chief Deputy Chief race will be decided tomorrow.  Probably.  Assuming there are no snafus/recounts/vanishing votes, whoever wins will be sworn in as Deputy Chief on August 14, and then immediately promoted to Principal Chief.  Attorney General Diane Hammons issued an opinion, at the request of council member and Baker honcho Chuck Hoskin, Jr., that said the Deputy will run the tribe until the new election and the new chief is sworn in. 

Since we don’t know when the new election will be, and since it’s a month after the general election and we still don’t have a winner, S. Joe Crittenden or Chris Soap could be running things for a while.

Soap and Crittenden have both been under the radar, but in the last couple of weeks we heard robocalls from Joe Byrd and Stacy Leeds for Crittenden, as well as some mailers from both candidates.    Soap has had a lot emphasizing his family, including his late stepmother, Wilma Mankiller, while Crittenden uses pics of Baker on a lot of his mailouts. 

The one controversial issue in their election was Crittenden’s support (or non support) of legislation that would have kept any Cherokees from voting by mail, even (and especially) at-large voters.  So anyone in, say San Antonio, would need to come to Tahlequah or not vote at all.  The measure was proposed by Jodie Fishinghawk, Crittenden’s neighbor in Adair County.  It was tabled once by Fishinghawk, then the next month, (October 2010 rules committee minutes) Fishinghawk again tried to table it. 

This time, the motion to table was defeated, including votes by the at-large council members who were strongly opposed to it.   Supporters, like sponsor Fishinghawk, wanted to table it to bring it back, while opponents of making Texas Cherokees vote in Tahlequah, wanted it off the table so they could defeat it.  After the tabling fail, Fishinghawk withdrew the legislation.  Soap voted with the at-large council members,  to allow folks to vote by mail.  Crittenden voted with the bill’s sponsor, who wanted to deny Cherokees the right to vote by mail.

Unfortunately, (or conveniently) the video of that meeting is not available on line, so we don’t know for sure, but it sure looks like Crittenden was in favor of making it impossible for Cherokees to vote by mail.  That would include even the people in Adair County who like to vote by mail, or who can’t leave the house.  Crittenden says he didn’t support disenfranchising mail-in voters, but Julia Coates, an at-large tribal council representative who easily won her re-election campaign this year, disagrees.

By now, everyone with a mail-in vote should have already sent it in, but there is definitely a difference in the candidates. 

If you are voting tomorrow, you might want to check out the information from the two Deputy Chief debates.  The one in May, sponsored by the Cherokee Phoenix, and the one in June at Rogers State.

Regardless, tomorrow night we should know who the next deputy principal deputy chief is.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Election Limbo Day 26: Second Verse, Same as The First

It’s déjà vu all over again.  Coming soon to the Cherokee Nation, a Principal Chief election featuring Chad Smith and Bill John Baker!  Just like the one we’ve had since March that was supposed to end in June, but now might last until, oh, Columbus Day or later.

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court issued a one-page order (page 2 contained their respective signatures) that unanimously invalidated the general election and set the stage for a new election.

They did not order one be conducted within 30 days, or have special rules, like Baker asked for in court.  

That leaves it up to Smith to call a new election, which he says he will do next week after he meets with members of the tribal council and the election commission. 

Some interesting tidbits:  Smith says he’ll leave office on August 14, when his term expires, and no one knows what that means.  We assume whoever wins the Deputy race Saturday would fill in for a while, which raises the stakes there significantly.  
What conspiracy theory will Baker come up with next?

Also, Baker came out swinging again today, with some more outlandish Terry Rainey accusations.

It’s just a little weird that the very day the Court gives him what he wants, Baker still can’t help but throw out a conspiracy theory!  Baker seems to think people will actually believe that every member of the Supreme Court (who gave him the new election he wanted) watched the videotape and then covered up evidence of this Rainey guy monkeying with the election.  Oh, and also four election commissioners (including ones Baker helped appoint) also being in on the "fix."  Baker thinks those commissioners are corrupt--except when they conducted a hand recount and accidentally left out hundreds of Smith ballots.  According to Baker, when they did that, they were all doing a great job-- even when they stood up in court and said they’d screwed up.  But never forget that no matter what Baker says about the numbers being changed, he saw the actual ballots counted in front of his own eyes and in the end he got either four (his version) or five (the commission’s version) votes less than Smith.  

Bill John Baker's got more conspiracy theories than Oliver Stone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Election Limbo Day 25- Hurry Up & Wait

The waiting game continues.  This time tomorrow we might be done with this whole election… just in time for the run-off.  Or we might be gearing up for a new election a few weeks after the run-off.  At some point, we should give some attention to the run-off.  We’ll schedule that in for Friday.  

Tomorrow night we’ll save for glancing at the court’s ruling and pulling out the TRUTH.   Until then, we’ll just keep hitting refresh on the court’s web page and waiting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Election Limbo Day 24: Video Shows the Truth About Ballot Stuffing

The Tulsa World has blown the lid off some of the biggest lies of this election season, and they have the video to prove it. 

 What we’ve learned since then is that all of this isn’t true.  The Tulsa World has had some very good coverage since election night, and they got their hands on the security video that the Supreme Court has already seen.  (It’s also available on the Smith web site).

What it shows is revealing:  a bunch of very bored people doing exactly what they told the court they were doing, which is going inside the vault, picking up an envelope and coming right back out.   Less than a minute total, between the two trips.  At least four people present at all times, including an election commissioner whom Baker and the Tribal Council appointed, Roger Johnson.  No extra ballots to quickly stuff in some random box.  No evidence at all backing Baker’s accusations.

Baker continues to drag the Election Commission and this Rainey guy through the mud, with absolutely no evidence.  Worse, it appears he flat out lied about what they did!  We don’t know why he did it, but we do know he was wrong about the original recount.  We know the Cherokee people who serve on the Election Commission deserve better.  They’ve made mistakes, certainly.  But there’s a difference between a mistake and criminal conspiracy, and it appears that Baker either can’t or won’t tell the difference, even if it means trashing Cherokee citizens doing a thankless job.

Thanks Tulsa World for uncovering some Cherokee Truth.  Not just about what happened in the vault (ho-hum) but about Baker, too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Election Limbo Day 23: Is the end in sight?

Gumby does the Day 23 Election Limbo

All last week, we were waiting for the recount, which was Saturday.  Then Sunday.  Then they said, Smith’s ahead, but we’ll be back in court tomorrow.  So what are the odds they’ll finish tomorrow?  Who knows?  What are the odds we’ll have a winner at all?  Who knows?  What are the odds of a new election?  Who knows?  Anybody with us, that we’re ready for it to be over? 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Election Limbo Day 22: Pick a Winner!

Election Limbo Day 22:  Pick a Winner!

Pick a winner!
The news tonight is that everyone is done counting the ballots, but the court hasn’t picked a winner.  Chad Smith is ahead by five votes. 

Both candidates released statements.  Smith said he won because all the votes were counted. 

Baker said that now all of a sudden that the process is fatally flawed. 
Though a flaw of hundreds of missing votes is different than a flaw of a difference between a 7 vote lead and a 5 vote lead.

See you in court on Tuesday!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Election Limbo Day 21: Tom Petty Edition

 Just when you think it’s almost over, it’s not over.  According to media reports, today’s recount only got through about 4000 of the 15,000 or so ballots.  So who’s the chief going to be?  Who knows?  Reports are that everything starts back up tomorrow morning at 8:30.  Check back in tomorrow night and maybe we’ll know more.  In the mean time, we can let Tommy Petty (and the Heartbreakers!) tell us something us Cherokees already know--- the waiting is the hardest part. 

Tom Petty, rocking a fringe jacket.  Is he subtly displaying the heritage of some lost-great grandmother, or is he just fashion-forward?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Election Day Limbo Day 20: Court + Voters + Recount + Election Commission + Candidates + Lawyers + Watchers =?

Ever tried to get on an airplane and been told that the flight is full, even though you already paid good money, up front for your ticket?  Well, just like Delta, our Election Commission is seriously overbooked on Saturday.

Their front lobby will be used for early voting for the run-off election, which takes place on July 23.  Somewhere in the back offices, the Election Commission, the candidates, their lawyers, their watchers, the Supreme Court and a partridge in a pear tree will be re-recounting the ballots from the first election. 

Since the Election Commission was reportedly packed with early voters before, and had more people than it could handle for the first recount, we’re thinking it’s going to be a crowded on Saturday.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Election Limbo Day 19: When a Recount Isn’t a Recount

Leave it to lawyers to make a two page document so confusing that normal people and other lawyers aren’t sure what it means.  That’s apparently what the Supreme Court did on Tuesday, when they called for ‘a manual hand recount of ballots for the office of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in the 2011 General Election….”

A little bit above that, it says ‘this Court cannot confirm the accuracy of the results of the 2011 General Election to a mathematical certainty.’

The Cherokee Phoenix and the Tulsa World are saying the court isn’t really ordering a hand recount like us normal people would think of one: whoever is ahead is the winner.  They are saying, and using Cherokee Nation Attorney General Diane Hammons as their source, that the recount is only part of the court hearings and may not be the official outcome.  Hammons says there are still other issues, like the claims of non-citizens voting, that the court has to address.  But the Tulsa World says  “Attorneys for both candidates are treating the court-ordered action as an official second recount.” 

The court, of course, is silent except for their apparently mysterious two-pager.  We’ll have to wait until Saturday morning to find out the Cherokee Truth. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Election Limbo Day 17- Do Over!

At 2:10 this afternoon, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court issued an order that all ballots for the office of Principal Chief shall be recounted by hand starting at 8:30 a.m. this coming Saturday. What's more interesting is that the Justices themselves will be in the room for the recount with the election commission, the candidates and their legal counsel, which is the same manner in which the Court had the absentee ballot envelopes recounted this past Sunday evening.

Photo Credit Tulsa World
So what does this mean? Well, it definitely shows the Court believes the recount that declared Bill John Baker the winner was incomplete, lacking hundreds of votes on the final tally. The testimony of the Election Commission, and ultimately the count of the absentee envelopes proved that. 

Today, Bill John Baker, who probably can no longer call himself "Chief-Elect," did a 180-degree turn from the statements he normally puts out when on the defensive, and said the following to reporters:
“We’ve always wanted every vote to count. I paid $4,500 for a full hand recount, and if they didn’t count them all, then I didn’t get what I paid for. I’m glad I’m going to get what I paid for, and I feel confident that we’ll be victorious.”
However, he did make a jab saying, "I am thrilled that the court chose to reject Chad Smith’s demand that the ballots only be counted by machines -- machines run by the same man who entered the ballot vault and changed numbers on a tally sheet."

It's interesting to us that Baker keeps sticking to the story that Terry Rainey, the contractor hired by the Election Commission, somehow rigged the election in Smith's favor, when that has never been proven even remotely true in court testimony or video tape surveillance.

Photo Credit Tulsa World

The truth is, hopefully this new recount will actually count every single vote, and the people's choice will be clear. But indeed, neither candidate can expect a landslide.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Election Limbo Day 15 & 16- Lost & Found

We've sat back and watched for the last couple of days as this election saga continues to unwind. 

And late yesterday evening, the case of the Vanishing Votes came to a head. The Supreme Court, candidates and their lawyers watched as the Election Commissioners opened the vault and counted the envelopes that absentee ballots were mailed in-- all 6,166 of them. That's nearly 300 MORE than were accounted for in the recount tallies for absentee ballots. And with that count, Baker's theory that some of Smith's absentee ballots were double-counted on election night flew out the window and the results of that "recount" are now under scrutiny.

The Supreme Court hasn't yet reconvened to tell us what they will do with this information but we expect that to happen this week.

Meanwhile, late this morning, Smith called a press conference and talked to the media about these developments. He later posted an update and statement on his website, and said in part, "The court still has to tell us what the next step is, and how to go about fixing this mistake, but it is time for my opponent to acknowledge what the election commission, and common sense, tell us all:  the recount was wrong and the original total was right.  For him to do anything else is to deny what he saw up close with his own eyes.  If he refuses to admit he was wrong about the recount, when every bit of evidence shows that he was, it means that Bill John Baker will say anything and do anything to be Chief."

Baker's only statement was sent to the media. If you go to his website, his acceptance speech is still the home page. He also hasn't made any comments on his campaign Facebook page as of post time tonight. But, you can see some of what he wrote to the media in this news story that The News on 6 aired tonight. He actually said, "[Smith] behaves like a dictator who believes the Cherokee Nation belongs to him and his henchmen."

It's been interesting to watch how each candidate reacts to the twists and turns this election has thrown at them. The only thing we know for sure, is that we should be close to some kind of resolution because the Supreme Court has figured out those "Vanishing Votes" on recount night were always there. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Election Limbo Day 14: Still Going...

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court just reconvened after a short dinner break with plans to continue until 10 pm tonight. If they do not wrap up this evening, court may be in session again tomorrow afternoon.

The truth tonight is that the truth is still unfolding. There have been only a few news reports out today. In fact, the Cherokee Phoenix has not reported anything on this hot Saturday!

Reportedly, the Court also denied Baker's motion to dismiss.

Stay tuned to the Truth and to news reports for more as this election continues to unfold.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Election Limbo Day 13: Romeo Blue Edition

Yogi Berra
 What do Yogi Berra, the former Romeo Blue (Lenny Kravitz), and our election have in common?  “It aint’ over ‘til it’s over.”

Romeo Blue aka Lenny Kravitz

We think everyone was hoping the court would decide something, anything today.   Mostly, what they did was listen.  There are plenty of media reports, but we’ll keep it close to home, with the folks over at the Cherokee Phoenix who are providing multiple updates every day.  The first one was simply reporting something that some of our readers have doubted:  the election commission, each and every one of them, say the recount has problems and they don’t think the totals are right. 

That had to make Smith folks happy, but Baker’s people tried to go down the road that maybe the recount was right and the first count was wrong.

Media reports say they start again tomorrow morning.  We don’t know what they’ll find out, but we hope they give us answers about why the vote counts were so different.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Election Limbo Day 12: Eye of the Storm

Something is going to happen tomorrow, and nobody knows what.  We’ve already had election day, an unofficial winner, an official winner, a recount winner, a recount scandal and a resignation by the election commission chairman.  That’s enough drama to win whatever award it is they give out for dramatic non-fiction stuff.   Today was pretty quiet, with Baker’s attorneys filed a couple of things:  a motion to intervene, which makes sense, because otherwise it’s just Smith’s attorneys suing the election commission, and a motion to dismiss Smith’s whole lawsuit, basically by saying it wasn’t specific enough.

Tomorrow, we move out of the eye of the storm, and the Supreme Court may tell us a lot more about what comes next.   

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Election Limbo Day 11: UKB Truth

We’ll try to shine some light on a dispute between the Smith and Baker camps over whether non-citizens voted in the election.

"And in maybe the biggest act of hypocrisy, Smith is now against voters who are dual enrolled with the UKB (these are the folks he calls non-registered voters), even though until a few years ago he himself was dual enrolled. Has Smith no shame?"

But today, Smith’s team posted a response from Deputy Chief Joe Grayson, saying that the court document did not refer to dual-enrolled Cherokees, but only those who aren’t Cherokee citizens:

“It's not clear whether Mr. Hoskin is willfully misinforming the public or just doesn't understand the court documents. Or maybe he just doesn't understand the citizenship laws of the Cherokee Nation. But the record is clear: people who are not citizens of the Cherokee Nation should not vote in our elections.”
So what’s the TRUTH?

Well, you can look it up for yourself  on the Supreme Court’s web site and scroll down to page 9 for the relevant info.

The filing uses the words non-citizen and relinquishment over and over again.  It seems like it’s pretty clear they are NOT talking about people who have dual citizenship, but it’s possible Hoskin had not had time to look through it before he made his statements.  It’s also possible the reporter didn’t think to check.  Regardless, if people aren't citizens, they shouldn't vote, right?

Anyway, we’re guessing this might be the calm before Friday’s storm.  A few news stories today, a little something at the court house and not much else. 

Smith appears to be having the same problems with the Election Commission that Baker had last week: he can’t get the information that he needs to try to make his case.  His attorneys filed something today to try to make the commission turn that information over.

That story had a little something new from a law professor saying that the election is  "not something the federal courts are going to deal with, but at some point, the Bureau of Indian Affairs will have to deal with the Cherokee government, and it raises questions for the federal government as to who the new chief is."

Meanwhile,  the Tulsa World took a dive into the exhibits of Smith’s appeal, pointing out more irregularities in the recount. 

So far, even Baker’s folks haven’t gone so far as to say in court documents that the recount was handled well, but they do make strong arguments that the recount is final and that’s that, even if it’s wrong.

We’ll see if there is more tomorrow.  If not, Friday will be quite a day and may settle this thing once and for all.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Election Limbo Day 10: New Election?

From media reports it appears to be quite a day, with court filings by both Baker and Smith, news conferences by both Baker and Smith, and the surprise resignation of our election commission chairman, Roger Johnson. 

That’s a busier than average Tuesday.

We’ll start with the court filings: Baker wants Smith’s request for a machine recount (filed last Friday) thrown out.

Baker doesn’t address the discrepancy of two-hundred-something votes between the two certifications, only saying that since the Election Commission certified the recount it should stand according to Cherokee Nation law. But he does use a lot of legalese to say why Smith’s Friday request should be thrown out.

Smith, on the other hand, raises some new topics with his filing today as well as trying to get the machine recount.

He wants the recount to continue, but he says if it doesn’t, the court should order a new election because of three things he claims:  1) UKB members who had relinquished their Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship voted in the election and shouldn’t have; 2) 273 Absentee voters were disenfranchised; 3) not all the ‘challenge’ ballots were counted, only some.  His lawyers say that the true test is that the court has to decide if there is a mathematical certainty of one or the other of the candidates being the winner --- if not, Smith says there has to be a new election.

That’s right, something a lot of you have been calling for:  a new election.  It’s on the table now, for the justices to consider.

The Supreme Court is getting everyone together on Friday morning at 830 to sort this all out.

Baker’s statement on his facebook page says, in part “ I won this election.  There is no doubt about it and I ask in the name of our Cherokee Nation and in the name of our Cherokee family that Chad do the right thing and allow us to begin moving this nation from good to great.”

Smith also references the resignation Tuesday of Roger Johnson from the Election Commission.   
The Tulsa World has some information on it, and the resignation letter itself which Smith cited as confirming the irregularities. 

We’ll have to wait until Friday for the CN Supreme Court to rule on these matters, so it might be a slow couple of days—or will it? Stay tuned to find out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Election Limbo Day 9- Happy 4th of July

Hopefully, our readers are taking the day to enjoy family, friends and fireworks. Our prayer for you is that you still maintain all the fingers you started with today after playing with fireworks tonight! Happy 4th of July.

The truth is, tomorrow may bring some fireworks of another sort. The race for Principal Chief continues-- but this time in court. We will keep you updated on what happens if and when the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court hears testimony about the disputed vote tallies of the Election Commission. 

Until then, be careful when lighting those sparklers, black cats and Roman candles.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Election Limbo Day 8: The "Resounding Loser"

The Muskogee Phoenix deserves a shout-out for their latest story on the election, especially the first line:
“Two winners were declared this week in the contest to elect the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief. But the resounding loser appears to be the tribe’s election commission.”

Both sides have had problems with the commission, and no one seems to know for sure what the real vote was at this point.  When Smith was ahead, he thought it was fair to have a recount and Baker thought the commission was ‘stealing’ the election from him.  But when Baker went ahead on the recount, which the commission admits was screwed up, he suddenly thought they were a-ok and  reliable. 

So who are these people and how did they get there?  As some of our readers point out, the Cherokee Nation web site has some good information on the commission. 

They are not, as Mr. Hoskin has said in statements, Smith’s ‘hand picked’ election commission:  Hoskin and Baker voted in favor of the two commissioners selected by the council. The commissioners are:  Roger Johnson and Martha Calico, both of whom were selected unanimously, (including votes from Baker and his spokesperson/fellow council member Chuck Hoskin, Jr.).  Resolutions 07-08 and 08-08 on legistar show those votes.  Chief Smith also selected two people, Patsy Eads-Morton and Curtis Rohr.  Together, those four selected Brenda Walker.  Johnson, one of the council’s selections, is the Chairman of the commission.  So even though both sides seem to have no confidence in the commission, it’s true that both sides had an equal say in assembling the people who have created the mess.

One bit of truth that has gone unnoticed so far:  either candidate could have avoided any of this mess by getting, say, 500 more votes than the other thus making the margin large enough that the rest of these things would seem irrelevant.  However, with such a close election and such a mess made by the election commission, neither candidate has a mandate or the right to invoke the strong will of the Cherokee people. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Election Limbo Day 7- Why Cherokee Truth is Here

Back then, only about 100 of you liked us on facebook, and we’ve had more than 550 of you join us since then--- welcome! Today’s blog is a reminder/orientation about what kind of blog/facebook page you are reading.  

It’s called Cherokee Truth-- not Cherokee Rumor, Cherokee Gloat, Cherokee Innuenedo, or Cherokee Borderline Slander.  It’s okay to express opinion here, but do so respectfully.  If you have a theory (like say, the missing votes in the recount were really just 3-D holograms that fooled the balloting machines), don’t post it unless you can back it up with a credible source.  If you can’t back up your version of the truth with some verifiable facts, take a deep breath, then go find some facts and come back and share. 

Over the next few days, we’ll get back to our roots of pointing out what is and isn’t true about what either camp or candidate is saying. This blog/facebook page is not for everyone --- it’s only for people who like to have factual discussions about Cherokee politics in a respectful way.  If you want to do that, please stick around.  If you don’t, feel free to retreat to whatever dark corner of the internet you usually hang out in.  Like we’ve said before, there are plenty of places on the web to post your unfounded conspiracy theories and personal attacks; this is not that place.

Personal attacks on candidates or others, outlandish/untruthful claims and obscenity are not tolerated and will be deleted. You can call that censorship if you want. We call it “our page, our rules.” If the hatefulness continues we will change the settings so that no one may post on the wall. We really don’t want to go there, so police yourselves.

And, if you’re new to the blog and want a good dose of truth, paddle backwards and check out our archives. Thanks for reading and for your interest in the Truth. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Election Limbo Day 6: Smith Files for a recount

Apparently a big fuss at the Election Commission today resulted in a bunch of nothing new.  Smith ended up filing a court case, saying he wants a machine recount.  He also posted some statements from his attorney on his web site.  The common theme was still the drastically lower amount of total votes (and Smith votes) in the recount than in the original certified count.

Baker apparently asked Smith to concede, according to the Tulsa Worldwhile Smith called on Baker to stick with his earlier comments (made when Baker was behind) to make sure every vote was counted.