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.