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Oklahoma Cherokee Chief election final

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October 21, 2011

Oklahoma

TULSA, Oklahoma: The recent election held for Principal Chief of the Oklahoman Cherokee nation saw Bill John Baker, the opposition to the incumbent Chad Smith, win the vote. Smith had attempted to stall the swearing in of Baker, stating that he wanted a final decision made by the Court in regard to the freedmen vote and if it was legal for them to cast ballots. But the Tribe's supreme court denied the appeal on October 19. Smith had tried to argue that the question of if the freedmen were in fact legal citizens of the nation was still in question so their ballots should not count. Hours after the appeal was denied, Baker was sworn into office. Smith later stated that though he lost, he would still work for the well being of the tribe.[1] Unofficial results showed baker had 10,633 votes for him while Smith had just 9,099. Some of the tribe's freedmen noted that the vote was significant for them, that their votes were included in the process and there was hope that their status as full members would be given back in the near future.[2]

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