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#1 Jun-26-2011 09:52:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Cherokee Nation elects new leader in close race

By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press – 1 hr 10 mins ago

OKLAHOMA CITY – In a close election that ran overnight, the Cherokee Nation elected a new principal chief Sunday, with final results posted on the tribe's website showing longtime councilman Bill John Baker defeating three-term incumbent Chad Smith by 11 votes.

More than 15,000 votes were cast, and the margin between the men had been fewer than 30 since late Saturday.

The Cherokee Nation is Oklahoma's largest American Indian tribe and one of the nation's biggest, with a membership approaching 300,000 people. The Tahlequah-based tribe has a 14-county jurisdiction in eastern Oklahoma.

Baker, a Tahlequah businessman, will take the oath of office on Aug. 14.

The campaign between Baker and Smith was often contentious. The two men combined to spend nearly a half-million dollars as they sought the chief's job.

During the campaign, Smith emphasized the tribe's economic success during his tenure. He touted the creation of more than 5,000 "stable jobs" by the tribe during the past decade and said that most of those jobs had gone to Cherokees, something Baker disputed.

Baker criticized Smith for using a tribal airplane for travel and called for the tribe to spend more of its gaming revenues on health care. Baker said the tribe shouldn't settle for being good when it could be better.

The turnout for this year's election was considerably higher than in 2007, when Smith won a third term as 13,903 voters cast a ballot.

Tribal voters rejected measures that would have eliminated term limits for the offices of principal chief and deputy chief and for seats on the tribal council. The term limits were put in place eight years ago. Smith had supported repealing them, even though he said during the campaign he didn't intend to run again. Baker supported keeping the term limits.

Chris Soap, the stepson of the late, legendary Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller, will be the tribe's next deputy chief, winning almost 47 percent of the vote in a four-way race. Joe Crittenden finished second with a little more than 36 percent.

Soap was Smith's running mate, while Baker opted not to ally himself with any of the four deputy chief candidates, saying he would try to work with whoever won the election.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110626/ap_ … lection_10

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#2 Jun-26-2011 10:01:am

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

DEVELOPING: Citizens elect Baker as principal chief

By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
6/26/2011 8:42:51 AM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation has elected longtime Tribal Council member Bill John Baker as its new principal chief.

The unofficial results released by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission on June 26 show Baker defeating three-term incumbent Chad Smith by 11 votes. The CNEC is expected to release the official results later Sunday or Monday.

"I’m humbled and honored to be the new Chief of the Cherokee Nation," Baker said in a statement. "I want to thank everyone who supported me. Your prayers, hard work and dedication made the difference. I think it's fair to say that every vote counted. We've come far, but we have far to go."

As of late June 25, only eight votes separated Smith from his challenger Baker. However, tribal election officials spent the night behind closed doors, scrutinizing so-called "challenge" ballots, which are similar to provisional ballots, before determining the winner.

More than 15,000 votes were cast, and the margin between the men had been fewer than 30 since late Saturday.

The Cherokee Nation is Oklahoma's largest American Indian tribe and one of the nation's biggest, with a membership approaching 300,000 people. The Tahlequah-based tribe has a 14-county jurisdiction in eastern Oklahoma.

Chris Soap, the stepson of the late, legendary Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller, will be the tribe's next deputy chief, winning almost 47 percent of the vote in a four-way race. Joe Crittenden finished second with a little more than 36 percent.

Soap was Smith's running mate, while Baker opted not to ally himself with any of the four deputy chief candidates, saying he would try to work with whoever won the election.

"To all my fellow Cherokees who supported Chief Smith, I ask that you give me a second look and work with me to take our Nation from good to great," Baker said. "I need the energy, thoughts and prayers of every Cherokee to make our Nation as strong as it can possibly be."

Keep checking cherokeephoenix.org for more on this story


http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/4998

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#3 Jun-27-2011 06:42:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Cherokee Election Commission officially declares Chad Smith winner

By LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON World Correspondent
Published: 6/27/2011  1:04 PM
Last Modified: 6/27/2011  4:20 PM


TAHLEQUAH -- The Cherokee Election Commission on Monday overturned unofficial results in the election of the tribe's principal chief and officially declared incumbent Chad Smith the winner by seven votes.

Unofficial returns showed challenger Bill John Baker won the election by 11 votes.

But the election commission on Monday said the total was 7,609 votes for Smith to 7,602 votes for Baker, or a .04 percentage difference.

A statement from the election commission said, "... every election commission does a canvassing of the votes and as a result of this canvassing these are the official results."

"We are shocked at these developments," said Johnathan Levy, a senior member of the Baker campaign. "We are trying to fully understand what has happened. We are reviewing all options."

Immediately prior to the commission's announcement, Smith said during a news conference he would contest the election.

“This election is not over. We have processes in place – checks and balances. “There are provisions in place for recounts, recalls and challenges and we will honor them,” Smith said at a news conference on Monday.

“The Cherokee people have a right to know.

“I’m confident that when this is done it will show that I will continue to be the principal chief,” Smith said.

Cherokee law requires any recount requests to be filed by Wednesday and election result appeals to be filed by July 4. According to the election commission, a recount would happen either June 30 or July 1. Any filed appeals would go through the tribe's Supreme Court.

On Sunday morning, Baker was announced the winner, 7,600 to 7,589.

The result was announced following an all-night session of vote-counting and recounting.

After results from the tribe's 39 precincts were initially reported on Saturday night, the margin of victory -- originally in Smith's favor -- was fewer than 10 votes, prompting the tribe's election commission to examine more than 250 challenged ballots that were originally disallowed from the vote total.

Those ballots included voters whose names were not on specific precinct lists, officials said.

The review started around 11 p.m.Saturday and ran throughout the night, with the results announced just before 7 a.m.Sunday.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. … HLEQ110259

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#4 Jun-27-2011 11:30:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Considering the significance of the number 7, it does seem more than a little scripted.

I don't have a dog in this fight since I'm not enrolled CNO. However, I have many friends who are and I know the majority were ready for a change. They're all hoping the results will be different after a recount.

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#5 Jun-28-2011 09:55:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

DEVELOPING: Baker files emergency injunction petition with Supreme Court


By CHRISTINA GOOD VOICE
Senior Reporter
6/28/2011 8:21:11 PM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Principal chief candidate Bill John Baker filed a petition for emergency injunctive relief with the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court on June 28, hoping the court will force the tribe’s Election Commission to provide answers or documentation as to why the unofficial election results in the principal chief’s race were overturned.

According to the final unofficial election results posted June 26 on the commission’s website, Baker was the winner with 11 more votes than his opponent, Principal Chief Chad Smith. But by noon the next day, the commission released the certified results with Smith wining by a seven-vote margin.

The posting of the certified results followed a “canvassing” of the ballots by the commission.

In a press release on Tuesday, Baker states the more he learns about the vote-counting process, the more it doesn’t add up.

“We’re trying to get the facts and will accept nothing but an open and transparent process to determine the winner of this important election,” he wrote.

The petition asks the court to order the EC to release copies of the Election Certificates of Vote with the certified election results for each individual district and absentee ballots, documents detailing the changes that occurred between the original vote totals reported by the EC at 7:10 a.m. on June 26 and the certified vote totals reported by the EC at 12:40 p.m. on June 27.

In his press release, Baker details a timeline of events following the release of unofficial results on June 26.

“At 7:30 on Sunday morning the Election Commission dismissed the poll watcher saying they were finished, said they were going to breakfast, then coming back and to certify the vote,” he wrote. “We want to know what happened between then and Monday morning when the election totals were changed and certified.”

Baker wrote that the commission isn’t releasing any information or documents about why the original results were overturned, leaving him no other option but to ask the court to order the EC to turn over all relevant documentation.

“After numerous requests to the Election Commission for documentation and an explanation as to what changed the results of Saturday’s election, the Commission’s Lawyer has refused to turn over anything without a court order,” Baker wrote. “The Election Commission has not turned over how the early vote was counted, a full count of the absentees or other relevant information. They have even refused to turn over a simple document showing how the vote broke down by precinct or county.”

Principal Chief Chad Smith responded to Baker’s filing in an emailed statement.

“This is just part of the process, there’s nothing unusual about it, just a request for the production of the record of the election,” he wrote. “We would also like to see the same documents and hope the election commission makes them available to all parties.”

Baker said the Cherokee people have a right to know what has happened to their vote.

“Currently the questions outnumber the answers,” he wrote.

Click here to view the petition for emergency injunctive relief with the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court.


http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5013

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#6 Jul-02-2011 03:46:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

DEVELOPING: Cherokees protest election outcome


http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2011/6/5019_Protest-M.jpg
John Fair, left, holds a sign during a June 30 protest at the Cherokee Nation Election Commission in Tahlequah, Okla. Fair, along other supporters of principal chief candidate Bill John Baker, protested while the tribe’s Supreme Court conducting a hearing regarding alleged election improprieties. Baker requested a recount after the commission overturned unofficial results showing his victory in the race and declared incumbent Chad Smith the winner.
CRAIG HENRY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX


By TESINA JACKSON AND JAMI CUSTER
Reporters
6/30/2011 2:34:50 PM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – About 60 people, ranging from children to elders, gathered June 30 at the Election Commission building to protest the certified results of the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief race and support challenger Bill John Baker.

“What we’re doing today is we’re asking and praying that the Election Commission do an honest count because we have had several different stories of how the count was arrived at after the election was to be certified Sunday morning (June 26) just after 7 a.m. by the Election Commission,” Linda O’Leary, a former Tribal Councilor and one of the protestors, said. 

Certified election results show Principal Chief Chad Smith with 7,609 votes to Tribal Councilor Baker’s 7,602. Unofficial results released by the EC on June 26 showed Baker leading with 7,600 votes to Smith’s 7,589.

An Internet- and Facebook-based group called Cherokees ForTruth organized the peaceful protest. According to its webpage, the protests were slated for June 30-July 1 at the EC building.

“We have spoken and have been ignored! The time to act is now!” states cherokeesfortruth.com. “There has never been a more critical time for our people to step up and take our nation back from those who feel no responsibility to the people! Those elected to lead us and look out for our best interests have made it blatantly obvious that they have no respect for our laws or our constitution (1976 or 1999) that they are sworn to defend! We are a grassroots group of Cherokee Citizens who demand transparent and responsible government….Our laws are broken, our elections are fraudulent, our nation is in crisis. Stand up for what is right! Join the movement and let’s demand a democratic Cherokee Nation now!”

Protestors began gathering at the EC building around 10 a.m. A Supreme Court hearing to determine whether ballots were properly secured after the election commenced at 9 a.m. with both campaigns represented.

On June 28, Baker filed a petition for emergency injunctive relief with the Supreme Court asking the court to order the EC to provide answers or documentation as to why the unofficial election results were overturned.

The EC then filed a motion to dismiss Baker’s petition but was denied by the court because it had already ordered the EC to turn over election documents to both candidates by 11 a.m. on June 29.

However, Baker’s campaign said the EC did not turn over all records and information the court had ordered. He has since filed petitions asking the court to hold EC Chairman Roger Johnson in contempt of court and to force the EC to provide all relevant information as ordered. He has also requested a recount.

Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr., one of Baker’s lawyers in the election dispute, said Baker was overjoyed that Cherokee citizens have come out to show support for him.

“They (protestors) are really discouraged about what’s happened and they want to do something, and so they’re out here raising their voices. And he is just as proud of them as he can be, and I am too,” Hoskin said. “ I know the chief is very disparaging of them. I’ve heard his statement and I can’t imagine why any Cherokee citizen would begrudge any Cherokee citizen from raising their voice in this time of great crisis.”

Smith said that everybody is entitled to express an opinion, but found it odd that the group was protesting a recount that Baker had asked for.

“Why do you protest a recount that you’ve petitioned the court for? That’s a little bit odd,” he said. “It’s really reflective of the entire campaign. It’s a very mean-spirited negative protest. It’s directed towards me and not the advocacy of a particular position. So it really reflects Mr. Baker’s entire campaign being negative and being personal.”

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5019

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#7 Jul-02-2011 03:49:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

DEVELOPING: Court affirms recount results

By WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
7/1/2011 12:23:36 PM

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During a brief hearing between the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, Principal Chief Chad Smith, Principal Chief-elect Bill John Baker and their respective attorneys today, the tribe’s Supreme Court affirmed the results of Thursday’s official recount numbers.

Smith was questioning how he lost more than 250 votes in a June 30 hand recount conducted by the Election Commission and attended by the Supreme Court. The certified results of the recount show Baker winning 7,613 votes to 7,347 votes, a margin of 266 votes. Before the recount, the totals showed Smith with 7,609 votes to Baker’s 7,602.

In the hearing, Chief Justice Darell Matlock Jr. said the commission certified the recount and the court is not inclined to act further unless Smith files an appeal.

“We are waiting on any filed appeal to make any orders concerning this election,” Matlock said.

Smith said he would file an appeal with the Supreme Court. He has until 5 p.m. July 5 to do so.

“It’s a bit disturbing that there were 270 votes not counted in this recount. That in and of itself tells us there’s something very, very wrong. The recount process is fatally flawed,” he said.

Smith said the EC has lost credibility due to the three different counts and results in the principal chief’s race so far.

“That’s why we have to continue the process to let the court oversee it and regain faith in the system,” he said. “I feel bad that we’re at this position, but as a government and as principal chief we need to follow through to make sure our institutions are sound and transparent.”

Smith said some people involved with the recount went outside of the Election Services Office after the recount and celebrated with Baker and his supporters. Each candidate had watchers present during the recount.

Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr., one of the attorneys representing Baker, said the Cherokee people have spoken and Baker is the chief-elect of the Nation.

“The two times the ballots have been counted with people in the room, Bill John Baker has prevailed. The certification stands, and he’s looking forward to getting about the work of the Cherokee people,” Hoskin said. “He is building a transition team and he is moving forward.”

Hoskin added that the most thorough “canvassing” of the ballots occurred with the recount.

“They were hand-counted ballots. Many people were in the room and many eyes on the process. Last night we had the most thorough count, and the difference was 266,” he said.

Hoskin said Smith has a “tremendous burden” with any appeal and that Baker was not going to be distracted by an appeal as he moves forward organizing his transition team and planning for the Aug. 14 inauguration.

Hoskin said there are some questions about how the election was conducted, and Baker plans to scrutinize the tribe’s election laws after he takes office to attempt to improve the election process.

Unofficial results released June 26 showed Baker leading Smith by 11 votes, but when the commission certified the vote the next day, Smith led by seven votes. The total number of votes has changed after each of the three counts made by the commission.

Click here to view the results of the recount.


http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5033

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#8 Jul-05-2011 07:53:pm

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Smith files appeal to either vacate recount or toss election

By WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
7/5/2011 6:26:19 PM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Shortly before a 5 p.m. deadline on July 5, Principal Chief Chad Smith filed an appeal with the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court asking justices to vacate the certified results of the Election Commission’s recount in the principal chief’s race.

The recount was held June 30 and gave Smith’s opponent, Bill John Baker, a 266-vote win.

In the appeal, Smith alleges the recount was faulty because “hundreds” of ballots were not counted, which he said calls into question the validity of the entire recount.

He also asks the court to order the “incomplete recount concluded by a reliable mechanical means” in the presence of an adequate number of watchers at each counting station and in the presence of the media to ensure “all” ballots lawfully cast in the June 25 general election are counted.

“We’ve asked the Supreme Court to address the many errors in the hand recount, including the hundreds of vanishing votes, so that the Cherokee people have confidence in the outcome of our election,” Smith said. “It may be that the court finds that is impossible to do. There may have been so many flaws and irregularities…that it may be that a new election is necessary.”

Baker campaign manager Jonathan Levy said Baker would respond to Smith’s filing on July 6.

The court is set to hear all pending motions and appeals regarding the 2011 general election at 8:30 a.m. July 8 at the CN Courthouse.

Smith filed a petition on July 1 asking for a recount to be done by machine and the court to force the EC to “complete its currently incomplete recount” in the election by “counting all the votes cast in that election.”

Click here to read the appeal.

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5038

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#9 Jul-11-2011 08:12:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Smith files motion to compel Election Commission to release voters list

By CHRISTINA GOOD VOICE
Senior Reporter
July 6, 2011

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – In the latest legal wrangling related to the principal chief’s race, Principal Chief Chad Smith filed a motion today asking the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court to compel the Election Commission to release a list of everyone who voted in the general election.

Casey Ross-Petherick, Smith’s attorney, wrote in an emailed statement that the filing is simply to help Smith and his legal team unravel the mystery the election has become.

The motion asks the court to force the EC to hand over the list by 9 a.m. July 7. Ross-Petherick states in the motion that the commission would not turn over the list without a court order.

“The Election Commission is not releasing information to us that we need in order for our case to go forward,” wrote Ross-Petherick. “We have information that people who have relinquished their Cherokee citizenship voted in the election. Not dual members, but people who are not Cherokee citizens at all.”

The motion not only asks for voters’ names but also their respective CN registration numbers.

Smith’s camp knows that the names of 149 people who have relinquished CN citizenship also appear on the list of people who voted in the June 25 election, Ross-Petherick states.

“More detailed information is needed to confirm if all of these people are indeed non-citizens, or if someone with the same name as a person who relinquished, but who is a citizen, voted,” she wrote. “If the election commission allows us to compare the CO numbers and birth dates between the voter list and the relinquishment list, then we’ll know the exact number of non-citizens who voted.”

Principal Chief-elect Bill John Baker’s camp declined to comment on the latest developments.

Along with the motion to compel, Smith filed a request to seal certain documents listed as Exhibit 6 and 7 in the case. According to the court’s website, the request has been granted by Chief Justice Darell Matlock.

“The sealed exhibits contain personal information of citizens, such as their address or registration number, that are not public information,” Ross-Petherick wrote. “That information is needed, though, to help the court determine how many non-citizens voted in the election.”

The filings also include a notice to Baker notifying him about what Smith is seeking from the EC and letting Baker’s attorneys know they will also get a copy if approved by the court, Ross-Petherick wrote.

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5040

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#10 Jul-11-2011 08:14:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Election Commissioners testify that recount is wrong

By TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor
July 8, 2011

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Four Cherokee Nation Election Commissioners testified in front of the tribe’s Supreme Court today that they believe the recount numbers in the disputed principal chief’s race are wrong.

During a hearing regarding Principal Chief Chad Smith’s appeal of the election, EC Vice-Chairwoman Brenda J. Walker, Secretary Martha Callico and Commissioners Patsy Eads-Morton and Curtis L. Rohr told Supreme Court justices that they believe the recount numbers that they, along with former Chairman Roger L. Johnson, certified on June 30 are inaccurate.

Also testifying that the recount is wrong was Terry Rainey, president of Automated Election Services. AES is the election service company contracted to supply voting machines to the tribe for its elections.

When asked by a Supreme Court justice if they believed the certified recount totals were wrong, each commissioner present stood and said yes.

Johnson was not present at the hearing after submitting his resignation earlier this week. In his resignation, he cited that media outlets have given him a negative public perception during the ongoing principal chief election controversy.

The commission certified the results during a Supreme Court-ordered recount. The recount gave Principal Chief-elect Bill John Baker a 266-vote win. The certified recount results were 7,613 votes for Baker to Smith’s 7,347.

Those numbers reflect 251 less votes than the original certified vote on June 27 that named Smith the winner.

Some commissioners also testified that the absentee vote category was the only category with significant vote differences between the certified count and the recount.

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5045

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#11 Jul-11-2011 08:20:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Supreme Court allows release of Election Commission’s voters list

By WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
7/10/2011 12:33:50 PM

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After showing concern about its disclosure, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justices on Saturday ordered the Election Commission to provide the court a list of names and tribal identification numbers of everyone who voted in the June 25 election.

The list was made available as part of Principal Chief Chad Smith’s appeal of the June 30 recount results that gave his opponent, Tribal Councilor Bill John Baker, a 266-vote victory. Baker is attempting to defend his victory in the appeal hearing that began Friday and lasted nearly 14 hours yesterday.

“It ended like the day began. The election commissioners acknowledged they made a mistake in issuing the certificate (certifying the recount), and through the course of the day that has not changed. It’s been a long day, but it still looks very good for us. We’re still very pleased,” Smith said.

He added that he’s “pleased” the court allowed the release of the voters list.

Justice Kyle Haskin said he was concerned about releasing the list. The Smith and Baker camps assured the five justices that the list would be kept confidential. The list is only to be used to compare with the Registration Department’s list of citizens to determine if people who had relinquished their citizenship voted.

In Smith’s appeal filing, he alleges that 149 non-CN citizens voted and affected the election’s outcome. He further alleges those voters had relinquished their CN citizenship and were not eligible to vote.

Earlier in the day, the court allowed only identifying information to be released for that list of 149 people. Justices reversed themselves later in the day by allowing the identifying information for all who voted in the election.

Also later in the day, it was revealed that four non-citizens on Smith’s list of 149 wrongly voted in the election.

On July 8, Election Services Office Manager Wanda Beaver testified that she and her staff routinely crosscheck the Election Commission’s registered voters database with the tribe’s official citizenship database to ensure that ineligible people are removed from the EC list. She also testified that when a person registers to vote, EC staff searches for the person’s name in the Registration database to confirm citizenship.

In testimony yesterday, CN Secretary of State Melanie Knight, who was one of Smith’s recount watchers, said counters were not given specific instructions about how to count ballots and that she witnessed some of them “fan” counting. Fan counting is where ballots are fanned like a deck of cards and counted. She also testified she witnessed counters counting from the bottom of stacks of ballots, which she believed was inaccurate.

Tim Baker, brother and counsel of Bill John Baker, asked Knight during cross-examination if she objected to anything during the recount. She said no. He also asked her if it made a difference if the ballots were counted from the bottom or top if the counts were verified multiple times.

“I suppose not,” she said.

He also asked her if she saw any counters making mistakes or not doing their jobs.

“I didn’t see anything,” she said.

She added that the mistake she did see with ballot boxes from Fort Gibson and Muldrow were corrected.

Laura Hendrix, a recount counter, testified she and her partner were trusted to count numerous ballots on June 30 and were cautious with their counting.

“We double-checked and triple-checked. We were very careful. We did not want to make mistakes,” she said.

Smith alleges he lost 250-plus votes between the initial election certification and the recount.

Hendrix testified measures were taken to ensure all ballots were removed from the ballot boxes and correctly counted before numbers were written down tally sheets.

She also testified she saw 10 absentee ballots marked with a pencil that had erasure marks. Voters were instructed to use No. 2 pencils to complete their ballots. However, pens or markers could also have been used. Hendrix said the ballots were initially marked for Baker but were erased and marked for Smith.

Another of Smith’s recount watchers, Valerie Giebel, testified she saw the erased ballots being handled by the counters and heard Election Commissioner Martha Calico instruct counters to count the ballot for the candidate with the “darkest mark on the ballot.”

Giebel also testified she saw tired and inattentive counters who had to continually start their counts over.

But Shawna Calico, a recount inspector, testified she saw no tired or inattentive counters during the recount process or any fan counting.

Sandra Henderson Flippo, a certified public accountant and certified forensic financial analyst, testified the recount was completed “within a reasonable margin of error.” She said the hand recount is the same as counting money or inventory for a business because the same process is involved.

She said she studied the process and procedures for the recount and found them to be “verifiable and solid.” In response to Smith’s allegation of 250-plus missing ballots, she said it would have been difficult to hide 250 ballots or remove them from the counting room.

Chuck Hoskin Jr., an attorney for Bill John Baker, has said the only “plausible” explanation for the lost votes is there was “double counting” of absentee ballots on June 25-26, which added votes to the election-night total. He said he believes Friday’s testimony showed some hand-counted absentee ballots were doubled counted on election night.

He added that the recount weeded out those double-counted ballots and gave a more accurate picture of the results.

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5047

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#12 Jul-11-2011 08:23:pm

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Supreme Court orders count of absentee ballot envelopes

By TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor
7/10/2011 4:41:33 PM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court today ordered the Election Commission to count the outside envelopes that absentee ballots came in upon arriving at the Election Services Office for the June 25 tribal election.

Justices hope to establish a baseline number of how many absentee ballots should be considered in the principal chief’s race.

Shortly after 3 p.m., justices ordered the Election Commission and its staff, along with both Principal Chief Chad Smith’s and Principal Chief-elect Bill John Baker’s camps, to the Election Services Office for the count.

Justices will watch as EC staff remove the envelopes from the vault and hand count them.

Justice Kyle Haskin said the envelopes would be “double- and triple-checked” to verify accuracy.

Members from Smith’s and Baker’s camps will be allowed to watch, but not get involved in the counting process.

Justices also decided that if it is necessary, the number of absentee ballots may be counted as well. Justices said if that is decided, ballots will not be tallied based on which candidate received that vote, but just the total number of absentee ballots.

The envelope count is expected to help determine if approximately 250 votes were double-counted on election night as the Baker camp claims, or if they were not tallied on June 30 during the recount as the Smith camp claims.

The Election Commission certified Baker as the winner after the recount with 7,613 votes to Smith’s 7,347. On June 27, when Smith was originally certified the winner of the race, the results were 7,609 votes for Smith and 7,602 for Baker.

Smith filed an appeal of that recount on July 5 claiming more than 250 absentee votes were not counted or tallied in the recount results.

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#13 Jul-11-2011 08:30:pm

bls926
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From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

EAS consultant denies changing chief race outcome

By WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
7/11/2011 7:05:37 AM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The president of the election service hired by the tribe to help conduct the June 25 general election denied changing the outcome of the principal chief’s race by annotating a tally sheet.

Terry Rainey, president of Automated Election Services, testified he did not know who was winning the election in the early hours of June 26 despite being part of the counting process. During questioning by Tim Baker, Principal Chief-elect Bill John Baker’s brother and attorney, Rainey also stated no one from either Bill John Baker’s campaign or Principal Chief Chad Smith’s campaign contacted him about election results between Sunday and Monday mornings.

Rainey has taken the witness stand several times in Smith’s repeal of the principal chief’s race, which Bill John Baker was certified the winner of after a June 30 recount.

Other witnesses have testified that Rainey entered the vault at the Election Services Office on two occasions on June 27 and retrieved two envelopes.

Rainey testified the Election Commission members are his bosses during the election process and he follows their orders. Yet he also testified he initially attempted to enter the vault without EC permission and that he began canvassing or re-examining the election results on June 27 without EC instruction, though the EC eventually assisted him.

Rainey said it was standard procedure for him to enter the vault where all election materials such as ballots and tally sheets are kept without EC orders.

Rainey testified that one of the envelopes he removed from the vault contained a tally sheet for the principal chief’s race. Upon studying the sheet he testified he noticed a mistake. He said one of the numbers that should have been 57 was written down as 37 and that he “annotated” it on the tally sheet. That change added 20 votes to the principal chief’s race.

Certified results on June 27 showed Principal Chief Chad Smith won the election with 7,609 votes to Bill John Baker’s 7,602 votes. The unofficial results on June 26 showed Bill John Baker had won with 7,600 votes to Smith’s 7,589. The change in results and numbers, Tim Baker stated, are a direct result of Rainey canvassing the unofficial results and adding 20 votes.

Tim Baker then asked Rainey if he ever instructed EC Chairman Roger Johnson, who has since resigned from the commission, to not give anyone the tally sheet he had changed. Rainey denied giving Johnson that order, but Tim Baker stated Johnson testified in an affidavit that Rainey had given him that order.

During testimony, Rainey also revealed AES is being paid no more than $150,000 for the management of the general election and could receive up to $150,000 for the July 23 runoff.

Rainey added that AES would not be paid extra if the court rules in favor of Smith and AES is forced to assist with a second recount.

During Sunday’s proceedings, Tim Baker, also read a deposition from Tulsa World reporter Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton regarding an occurrence on June 26 after general election results were counted.

Tim Baker stated Krehbiel-Burton saw EC Secretary Martha Calico exit the election building around 7:10 a.m. and that Calico stated she was going to breakfast.

Krehbiel-Burton’s deposition states she heard Calico say that the “Election Commission is going to go have breakfast and then come back and certify the results.”

At that point, Bill John Baker was considered the unofficial winner.

Nikki Baker Limore, the sole watcher inside the Election Services Office on election night, testified July 9 that she had worked through the night observing the counting of ballots. She testified that on the morning of June 26 the commission printed her a copy of the unofficial results and told her she could leave because the count was done. She testified she offered to stay longer and continue assisting the commission. 

“I told them I would stay to the very end,” Limore said.

She testified that Calico assured her the count was done and that she was going to have breakfast and then come back and certify the election.

“She basically acted like it was no big deal,” Limore said.

Limore added that she left that morning understanding that Bill John Baker had won and that she didn’t learn of Smith being certified the winner until the afternoon the next day.

Also on Sunday, EC attorney Lloyd Cole delivered to the Supreme Court three digital copies of a list containing names and identifying information of all people who voted in the June 25 election. The court received a copy while the Smith party and Baker party each got one.

Smith claimed in his initial election appeal that non-Cherokee Nation citizens voted in the election. He supplied a list of 149 names and asked for identifying information from the Election Commission of everyone who voted. The court initially granted Smith the information for the people on the list of 149, which yielded four ineligible voters.

However, later the court asked the EC to hand over the information for all people who voted.

Also in his appeal, Smith asked the court to grant him a recount or a new election. If he is granted a recount, he wants it done by a counting machine. He alleges the EC did not count all ballots during the recount because he came up 250-plus votes short of the June 27 count when he was declared the winner with 7,609 votes to Baker’s 7,602.

The Supreme Court adjourned at approximately 3:30 p.m. Sunday and did not specify when they would reconvene. Testimony began on July 8.

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5050

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#14 Jul-26-2011 10:10:am

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Releases Statement Regarding Election

July 22, 2011

TAHLEQUAH Okla - From Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Meredith Frailey:

"Yesterday, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court issued an order vacating all certifications of the Election Commission concerning the 2011 general election for the office of PrincipalChief.  The evidence clearly showed that there was an inability to determine the winner of the Principal Chief election by a mathematical certainty.  Consequently, the Court unanimously chose to follow the rule of law and order a new election for office of Principal Chief. This process is a testament to our government that each branch operates independently and fairly.

According to law, the Principal Chief will set an election in the coming days.  In the immediate future, the Cherokee people will have a number of questions on how the process will be administered.  The Tribal Council will help ensure that every rule is followed and every law obeyed, and that safeguards are in place to ensure that the Cherokee people’s voice is heard in this election.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council stands ready to review all policies, procedures and election laws to ensure a well-administered special election.  We have requested the Cherokee Nation Election Commission to hire an independent election service to assist in the election process.  We hope they follow our recommendations. We may also exercise our constitutional authority to improve our election laws to help avoid some of the issues our Nation faced in this past election.  Both Principal Chief candidates have called for a review of how our elections have been conducted.  The Tribal Council may find it prudent to take the time necessary to consider these potential changes.  I urge Principal Chief Chad Smith to consider allowing time for the Council to address these concerns when he schedules the special election.

The upcoming election likely will involve spirited debate and discourse concerning the future path of the Cherokee Nation.  In discussing those issues that are important to the Cherokee people, we are certain the candidates will exercise those Cherokee traits that we hold most dear:  honesty, civility and truthfulness, and that the debate will be respectful and thoughtful.

We have a strong government.  The way to ensure and maintain that strength is to exercise our right to vote.  Our decision in voting affects all Cherokee citizens and our neighbors.  The Cherokee people have been put to a test by the trials and tribulations of the recent election cycle.  The result is that the character of the Cherokee Nation is strong and we will emerge even stronger as a result of the test."

http://www.cherokee.org/PressRoom/32597 … ticle.aspx

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#15 Jul-26-2011 10:12:am

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Deputy chief to assume principal chief seat if no winner by Aug. 14

7/22/2011 7:21:44 PM
By TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to an opinion issued today by the Cherokee Nation Attorney General’s Office, if the principal chief’s seat is vacant when Principal Chief Chad Smith’s term ends on Aug. 14, the current deputy chief would assume the principal chief’s position.

Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. recently posed the question to Attorney General Diane Hammons with regards to the disputed principal chief’s race between Smith and Tribal Councilor Bill John Baker.

The CN Election Commission certified Smith as the initial winner in the chief’s race on June 27. Baker then filed for a manual recount, which he won on June 30. Smith appealed the election to the Supreme Court on July 5. After a lengthy hearing, the court on July 21 ruled that a winner could not be determined with “mathematical certainty” and invalidated all counts in the race.

As of press time, a date for a new principal chief’s election has not been set. However, the CN Constitution states that all elected officials are to be inaugurated on Aug. 14.

According to Hammons’ opinion, if no winner has been decided in the principal chief’s race by Aug. 14, a temporary vacancy in the principal chief’s office is created and must be filled by the temporary assumption of that office by the deputy chief.

“Although the Constitution does not specifically address the present situation – a second election for the Principal Chief, where the first one was held to be invalid – it does contemplate temporary disabilities,” the opinion states. “We believe that the gap between the end of the present four year term, which expires August. 14, 2011, and the time that the new election is finally concluded and the next Principal Chief takes the oath of office represents a ‘temporary disability’ which should be filled by the Deputy Principal Chief under the provisions of Article VII, Section 4.”

Hammons’ opinion also states that unlike Tribal Council seats, there is no hold over provision for the principal or deputy chief positions, in which Smith would be allowed to keep the office until a successor is duly seated.

“In other words, given that the framers of the Cherokee Constitution specifically included a hold over provision for the Tribal Council, but not for the Principal Chief, it is assumed that the exclusion was intentional, and that therefore, hold over is not available to the Principal Chief,” the opinion states.

Currently, Joe Grayson holds the office of deputy chief. However, his term ends on Aug. 14 as well. Tomorrow’s runoff election will decide who the next deputy chief will be. Tribal Councilors S. Joe Crittenden and Chris Soap are vying for the spot after being the top two vote-getters in the June 25 general election.

http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5079

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#16 Jul-26-2011 11:41:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4274
Website

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

This is absolutely ridiculous.  They need some organization from the outside to run a new election and handle the vote-counting.  They've proven themselves to be completely incompetent.

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#17 Aug-24-2011 10:11:am

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Cherokee Nation's Principal Chief election to be held Sept. 24

By Staff Reports
Published: 7/29/2011  4:17 PM
Last Modified: 7/29/2011  6:11 PM

The second election for Cherokee Nation Principal Chief will be Sept. 24, the tribe announced today.

The election between incumbent Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker will come almost exactly two months after the first election, which was followed by controversy, recounts and a Supreme Court ruling that invalidated it.

The Sept. 24 date was "recommended by the Election Commission to best allow our citizens to fully participate in the election,” said Smith in a press release. “The commission thought that gave enough time to notify our citizens of the dates important to the election, including a period of time for voters to request absentee ballots.”

In a press release issued by his campaign, Baker said he was "pleased that Chad Smith has finally decided to heed the will of the Cherokee people and set a date for the new election."

The ruling means that a principal chief won't be elected by Inauguration Day, which is Aug. 14, as mandated by the tribe's Constitution. Newly elected Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden will serve as chief until a new one is inaugurated, according to a ruling from Cherokee Nation Attorney General Diane Hammons.

Crittenden will be inaugurated on Aug. 14 as deputy chief.

The first election in the principal chief's race was June 25 and was followed by four instances in which a different candidate was on top:

* The next morning, Baker was declared the unofficial winner.

* A day later, Smith was declared the official winner.

* Baker filed an appeal and won a recount later that week.

* Smith appealed to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, which ordered another vote count. That count ended with Smith leading by five votes.

On July 21, the Supreme Court invalidated the election. It issued a ruling stating it was “impossible to determine the election result with mathematical certainty” and that the court could not “certify a successful candidate for the office of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.”

Cherokee Nation law dictated that a special election must be called by the principal chief “as soon as practical.”

In a press release issued today, Smith said: “I understand that the Cherokee people are ready to elect their Chief, and many feel they already have. But I also understand that they don’t want to end up right back here again, with an election that was troubled by irregularities. This time frame gives the Election Commission and the Tribal Council a chance to address those issues while still having an election quickly.”

All Cherokee citizens who were registered to vote by March 31 are eligible to vote in the Sept. 24 election, according to a press release from the Cherokee Nation.

MORE TO COME ON THIS STORY

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. … esec174871

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#18 Sep-25-2011 10:18:am

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

UPDATED: Election results to come Oct. 8

September 24, 2011

Many Cherokee citizens set out to the polls today to cast their ballot for the next Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.  A recent court order added additional voting days for freedmen descendant citizens and stipulates that no ballots be counted until after the last voting opportunity on Oct. 8.

"I think today's voting day went really smoothly. Judging by the higher in-person voter turn out, it seems Cherokee Nation citizens still have faith in the election process,"  said Susan Plumb, chairperson of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission. "The Election Commission has and will continue working tirelessly to preserve the integrity of this election."

According to the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, more than 8,700 ballots were cast today during precinct voting and more than 1,100 citizens cast ballots during early walk-in voting.  These are preliminary numbers that will be verified when the Commission tabulates the ballots after voting concludes on Oct. 8.  [Ballots Cast on Sept. 24]

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission said they would secure and safeguard the ballots with the help of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service until commissioners begin counting them on Oct. 8. Commissioners have set a 48-hour time frame for announcing certification of the results. Official results will be announced within that window.

http://www.cherokee.org/PressRoom/32714 … ticle.aspx

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#19 Oct-11-2011 06:24:pm

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Cherokee special election: Baker leads in unofficial first count

By LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON World Correspondent
Published: 10/10/2011  2:25 AM
Last Modified: 10/10/2011  7:47 AM


TAHLEQUAH - After the first day of counting in the Cherokee Nation special election for principal chief, Tribal Council member Bill John Baker unofficially leads former chief Chad Smith by almost 2,200 votes.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission released unofficial, machine-counted vote totals by precinct for the tribe's 38 polling places and walk-in voting, with Baker ahead 6,223 votes to 4,046.

That gives Baker an initial lead of 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent.

About 8,700 people voted at their precincts on Sept. 24 and an additional 1,647 voted at the election commission during walk-in days, including 510 during the five additional walk-in days ordered by a federal district court judge.

The election commission has not started counting absentee ballots, and the number that were returned has not been disclosed.

About 12,000 absentee ballots were requested for the special election, an increase of 3,800 from the general election.

Election commission members spent the rest of Sunday afternoon verifying absentee ballots, and according to a timeline issued by the tribe, will continue doing so all day Monday.

Commission chairwoman Susan Plumb said Sunday that she did not expect the commission to finish reviewing and counting ahead of schedule.

"I don't expect us to finish early," she said. "I expect us to finish on time and correct."

The absentee ballots will be counted Tuesday, followed by the challenge ballots.

A challenge ballot is one given to someone whose name is not on a voter registration list at a precinct. The voter must fill out a registration form at the polling place and sign an affidavit confirming his or her eligibility to vote in the election. Each one must be individually reviewed before it is counted.

The complete unofficial results will be published by Wednesday and certification will happen up to 48 hours later.

Recount requests will be accepted up to five days after certification.

Along with the five commissioners, observers from the Atlanta-based Carter Center and a watcher from each campaign were inside the counting room Sunday, starting at 8 a.m.

About a dozen people, including Baker and his campaign manager, spent Sunday congregating outside the election commission.

In a change from the previous two elections, results were not posted online. Police tape initially kept observers 150 feet from the election services office door. Later in the morning, onlookers were allowed within about 50 feet of the door and immediately outside two windows on the building's north side where the precinct results were posted.

The special election was called after the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court invalidated the June general election results in the principal chief's race.

After multiple recounts yielded different figures, the court ruled that the results could not be guaranteed with mathematical certainty, the standard set by the tribe's election law.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. … TLIN487430

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#20 Oct-12-2011 06:05:pm

bls926
Administrator
From: Texas
Registered: Oct-21-2006
Posts: 12082

Re: CNO elects Bill John Baker as principal chief

Cherokee Election Commission certifies unoffical results, Baker victory

By LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON World Correspondent
Published: 10/12/2011  11:11 AM
Last Modified: 10/12/2011  2:07 PM


TAHLEQUAH -- The Cherokee Nation Election Commission on Wednesday certified unofficial, final results in the tribe's special election for principal chief showing Bill John Baker as the winner.

Unofficial results have Tribal Councilor Baker defeating former Principal Chief Chad Smith 10,703 votes to 9,128.

Recount requests must be filed within five days. Appeal requests are due two days after the recount deadline.

At noon Tuesday, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court issued an order saying it would not recognize an agreement brokered in federal district court last month that reinstated the tribal citizenship of 2,800 freedmen descendants.

About 1,200 descendants of Cherokee freedmen - former slaves of the tribe's members - are registered to vote in Cherokee elections, but it is not known how many did cast ballots in the Sept. 24 election.

On Aug. 22, the tribe's Supreme Court had upheld a 2007 tribal referendum that disenrolled the freedmen descendants and required at least one Cherokee ancestor on the final Dawes Rolls in order to apply for citizenship.

The Cherokee justices could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and officials at the U.S. Interior and Justice departments in Washington declined to comment on Tuesday's developments.

After the commission verified and counted about 9,000 absentee ballots, Cherokee Nation marshals came out of the commission office at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday to distribute copies of the unofficial results.

With a copy of the results in his hand, Baker told a group of supporters and reporters that "this paper says: 'Our administration will start shortly.' "

"It's time for the healing to begin," he said.

Almost 20,000 tribal members voted in the special election, an increase of 5,000 from the June 25 general election.



http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. … imgs910308

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