The Cherokee Nation Election Commission counted some ballots today. About 10,300 of them, which was the total number of people who went to the polls on September 24, the ones who voted early and the ones who voted late.
As expected, Baker did well with those votes. Or, probably better than expected. According the election commission, and they are the only ones who matter, Baker has 2177 more votes than Smith at this point in the election, with the totals at: 6,223 for Baker and 4,046 for Smith. That’s a 61-39 split, which is great news for Baker. That’s about 1400 more votes than he got from that group of voters before, which puts Smith behind by a big chunk.
Smith won the absentee voting in June, and as the election commission chair Susan Plumb says, “no winner is decided until the last Cherokee citizen’s vote is counted.” The Cherokee Nation web site also says that the election commission “anticipates counting all absentee ballots and challenged ballots on Tuesday. It is anticipated that all ballots will have been counted and the unofficial results published by Wednesday.”
The Associated Press talked to the candidates, who had this to say:
"We are cautiously optimistic," said Baker's spokeswoman, Linda Gray Murphy.
Smith, in an emailed statement, said: "With still about half the votes left to count, I'm still very confident with how this will turn out."
There are about 12,000 mail-in ballots out there, and Smith won those in June by about a 56-44% margin. He’ll have to do better than that this time around or Baker will claim victory.