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Chief-elect looking forward to 'smooth transition'

The Associated Press

The principal chief-elect of the Cherokee Nation says he's looking forward to a "smooth transition" while the incumbent is questioning the results of a recount.

The American Indian tribe's election commission conducted a recount Thursday and determined longtime tribal councilman Bill John Baker won election over three-term incumbent Chad Smith by 266 votes out of almost 15,000 ballots cast.

Unofficial results released Sunday showed Baker leading Smith by 11 votes, but when the election commission certified the vote on Monday, Smith led by seven votes.

Baker says "transparency has prevailed" in the process but Smith called the recount results "perplexing" and says they "result in more questions than answers."

More than 250 votes included in Monday's total weren't included Thursday. Smith says he'll "insist upon answers within the appeals process."