Cherokee election recount: Smith ahead by 5 votes

By MURRAY EVANS | July 17, 2011 | 11:44 PM EDT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A second recount in the disputed election for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation has found the incumbent ahead by five votes.

Incumbent Chief Chad Smith and tribal councilman Bill John Baker are vying for the seat. The Tulsa World reported the recount ended Sunday at the tribe's election headquarters in Oklahoma and showed Smith was ahead by five votes. The results now go to the tribe's Supreme Court.

Results from the June 25 election have been in dispute since they were announced. Unofficial results first showed Baker winning by 11 votes, but the next day, the election commission said Smith had won by seven votes.

Smith says the second recount shows he received the most votes "fair and square." Baker says he looks forward to Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing.