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Cherokee Election Commission Begins Recount (Jun 30, 2011)

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation Election Commission has begun a re-count of the votes cast in the principal chief race between incumbent Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker.

Election commission officials said Thursday they would keep going until the re-count had been completed, adding that their efforts could last until early Friday. More than 15,000 votes were cast in Saturday's election, and workers are going through the ballots by hand.

Unofficial results posted on Sunday had Baker winning by 11 votes over Smith, but when the election commission certified the results on Monday, Smith was declared the winner by seven votes. Baker sought a re-count.

The main dispute involves an absentee ballot form that contained an illegible number of votes that seems to have given Smith the lead.

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