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July 12, 2011

Cherokee court orders manual recount of ballots

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court has ordered a manual hand recount of ballots in a disputed June 25 election for chief of the 300,000-citizen tribe.

The court announced Tuesday afternoon that the recount would begin Saturday morning at the nation's election commission office.

Unofficial results from the election showed that councilman Bill John Baker unseated Chad Smith by 11 votes. But when the Cherokee Election Commission announced the official results on June 27, Smith was declared the winner of a fourth term by seven votes.

A recount done at Baker's request then reversed the results again, putting him ahead by 266 votes. That's the count Smith said was flawed.

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