Democratic candidate for county commissioner Melanie Hartman appeared to have won the election on Wednesday by a razor-thin 104-vote margin, according to Detroit Free Press. However, red-faced county officials have revealed that a computer glitch led them to actually count votes for seven precincts twice, and the Republican incumbent Adam Kochenderfer was declared the winner on Friday.
When the votes were counted correctly, Kochenderfer came out ahead by a comfortable 1,127 votes, 51.67 percent of the total. While the relieved winner said he was “grateful to the officials who caught the error,” he expressed concern other mistakes might not be caught so quickly.
“We need to ensure that we catch these issues, or prevent them entirely,” he told local media. Kochenderfer had already accepted his defeat, though he was surprised to be (however briefly) ousted in a district long considered a Republican stronghold, and had not been planning to seek a recount.
The error was blamed on “a computer issue” at the city clerk’s office in Rochester Hills, in Oakland County’s 15th District. Absentee votes for the seven precincts were counted twice, as in-person and absentee, County Elections Director Joe Rozell explained.
Michigan is one of six states where President Donald Trump has challenged vote totals in an effort to uncover what he insists is widespread voter fraud. The state was called for Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Wednesday, apparently flipping ‘blue’ after Trump won it by a slight margin in a 2016 upset. It’s not clear from reports if the Oakland County computer error also affected presidential ballots; however, current figures give the Democrat a comfortable margin of victory.
The Trump campaign has also filed or joined lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona and demanded a recount in Wisconsin. Georgia’s secretary of state announced on Friday that a recount would be performed there. According to calculations from the Associated Press, Biden appears to be on track to win the presidency with 264 of the required 270 electoral votes, as just one victory in the states that have not yet been called would put him over the line.
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