By TEDDYE SNELL
Mike Dobbins, challenger in the recent District 4 Cherokee Nation Tribal Council election runoff, has requested a recount of ballots cast Saturday, July 27.
Three-term incumbent Don Garvin edged out Dobbins by eight votes during the runoff, according to certified results. Garvin garnered 352 votes of the nearly 700 ballots cast, or 50.6 percent, compared to Dobbins’ 344 votes, or 49.4 percent.
The recount is slated to begin at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 1, and will continue until the task is completed.
Wanda Beaver, office manager for the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, said tribal election laws give candidates the option of requesting a recount, regardless of the margin of difference in ballots cast, and that CNEC commissioners certified the runoff, regardless of Dobbins’ request for a recount.
“If [the count] comes out different [during the recount], it goes back to the [CN Supreme Court] justices and they make a decision,” said Beaver.
Dobbins said he’s requesting the recount because of the slim margin in the voting.
“And we want to make sure everyone who voted were registered voters in District 4,” said Dobbins.
Garvin said Dobbins carried the absentee vote, but Garvin took all three District 4 precincts, including Muskogee, Fort Gibson and Warner.
Garvin has served on the council for 14 years, and noted this year’s race was one of the closest he’d ever seen. He’s confident the recount will reflect the initial results.
“Those machines are pretty accurate,” said Garvin. “I have noticed over the years that recounts usually go out the way they come in.”
An inauguration ceremony has been set for the nine newly-elected tribal councilors for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Place Where They Play on Sequoyah Schools’ campus south of Tahlequah.
Other councilors to be inaugurated include: Joe Byrd, District 2; David Thornton Sr., District 5; Frankie Hargis, District 9; Harley Buzzard, District 10; and Janees Taylor, District 15.