, Muskogee, OK

July 30, 2013

Cherokee council hopeful seeks recount

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A candidate who came up eight votes short of ousting a three-term incumbent in the District 4 race for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council race requested a recount of the ballots Tuesday.

Tribal election officials, who certified on Tuesday the 352-344 results of the July 27 runoff, said the recount is scheduled for Thursday. The recount was requested by Mike Dobbins, who gave two reasons.

“Number one, it was just so close,” Dobbins said about the eight-vote margin of victory. “Number two, we just want to make sure that all of the voters who voted were registered residents of District 4.”

Tribal Councilor Don Garvin, who has served 14 years as a member of the Cherokee Nation’s legislative branch, said this year’s contest was closer than his past races. Garvin said he carried all three precincts — Muskogee, Fort Gibson and Warner — but Dobbins carried the absentee vote. Still, he was confident the recount would fall in his favor.

“Those machines are pretty accurate,” Garvin said. “I have noticed over the years that recounts usually go out the way they come in.”

Wanda Beaver, the office manager for the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, said tribal election laws provide candidates with the option of requesting a recount regardless of the victory margin.

She said commissioners would certify the results of the runoff regardless of the recount request.

“Either candidate has a right to a recount, it doesn’t have to be a particular margin,” she said.

“If it comes out different, it goes back to the justices, and they make a decision.”

Beaver said the recount is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and will continue until it is completed.

According to the tribe’s 2013 election schedule, candidates who want to challenge the results have until Monday to file an appeal with the tribe’s highest court.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or