An incumbent Republican in Michigan went from losing his reelection race to winning it after officials discovered a “technical glitch” by which the results from seven precincts had been counted twice. Officials responded to the error by urging voters to have confidence in the system.
“Adam Kochenderfer, R-Rochester Hills, went to bed Tuesday night believing, with all precincts reporting, he had lost his seat on the 21-member Board of Commissioners to Democratic challenger Melanie Hartman by 104 votes — 19,448 to 19,344,” The Detroit News reported. “But there was a problem: According to Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, the total from seven precincts in the city had been reported twice.”
Brown said, “This is proof that our process of checks and balances works. A methodical canvass is an essential tool to ensure an accurate count and precise results.”
The final corrected count moved Kochenderfer from a 104-vote loss to a 1,127-vote victory.
“I thought that was that,” Kochenderfer said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Those were the results, and I said I would not seek a recount.”
“Apparently, there was a technical glitch in Rochester Hills. And so I actually ended up winning by a little over 1,100 votes,” Kochenderfer continued. “I’m very grateful to the officials who caught the error, but we need to ensure that we catch these issues, or prevent them entirely.”
He added that people should not look at cleaning up how elections are operated as a “partisan” act.
City Clerk Tina Barton responded to the matter by stating, “This was an isolated mistake that was quickly rectified once realized. Every voter should have complete confidence in our voting system.”
“A computer issue in Rochester Hills caused them to send us results for seven precincts as both precinct votes and absentee votes. They should only have been sent to us as absentee votes,” Oakland County Director of Elections Joe Rozell said. “We noticed the local clerk’s mistake (on Thursday) and corrected it. The county canvass process works, and the correct results are now on our website.”
NEW: Ballot reporting error impacting 7 precincts in Rochester Hills had County Commissioner Adam Kochenderfer (R-Rochester Hills) losing re-election race by 104 votes
Error has been corrected
Kochenderfer wins by 1,127 votes
Board holds onto 11-10 Democratic majority pic.twitter.com/9k309U6lFB
— Mark Cavitt (@MarkCavitt) November 5, 2020
WXYZ Detroit posted a lengthy statement from Kochenderfer on the matter:
Well, this is awkward. I received a call from the Oakland County Elections Division this afternoon. There apparently was a technical glitch in several precincts. Instead of losing by 104 votes, I won by 1,127.
I’m a bit speechless (my wife probably has a joke about that), but I’ll do my best here. While I’m grateful for t he outcome, we should conduct a thorough review of our system to prevent this from happening again.
I’d like to thank the officials who caught the error and corrected the vote tabulation. And of course, thank you to the voters of our area for their support and confidence in me. It’s been and will continue to be an honor to serve you.
I’m also cognizant of the fact that my opponent has experienced the mirror image of my own roller coaster during the past 36 hours. Candidates and their families put countless hours into these elections. While we disagree on some topics, Dr. Hartman made excellent points during her campaign about the need to support mental health programs during this trying time. I invite her to work with me to explore ways we can boost mental health, particularly addressing frontline workers who may be facing a difficult winter as COVID cases continue to rise.
Thank you again for your support. Here’s hoping to a more normal 2021.