The Inver Grove Heights district has agreed to a recount in the school board race after losing candidate Bill Klein requested one.
Klein believes an error with Dakota County’s new voting machines casts doubt on the validity of the results, which showed that Klein lost his bid for the board's fourth seat by 188 votes on Nov. 3.
On election night and the following morning, Klein recalled, Dakota County reported two different outcomes, leading to confusion.
When the county put election results online on the night of Nov. 3, it appeared Klein was in fourth place, winning a seat by 35 votes, Klein said.
But the next morning, both Dakota County and the Secretary of State websites reported Klein lost by 188 votes, Klein said.
“A red flag went off in my mind,” Klein said. “Here I’m winning the night before and all of a sudden I’m losing big the next day.”
Klein called the county and was told that a coding error had given him votes by mistake Tuesday night. The error had been fixed by the next day, county officials said, and the online results were correct.
But Klein questioned the tally. He asked the superintendent for a recount and was told he could have one, he said.
“If I got 308 votes, [then] I got 308 votes,” Klein said. “But if it turns out that it’s a whole different ballgame, then that’s only fair, isn’t it?”
Because of the confusion, the district is waiving the fee that usually applies when a candidate asks for a recount, said George Fairbanks, district spokesman.
The machines are new this year and weren’t tested before they were used, Fairbanks said.
Klein, who served on the Inver Grove Heights City Council for 20 years and has run for county commissioner, said he just wants to know what the actual results were.
“I’ve got no bear in this fight,” he said. “It’s just, I want to see if that’s what happened, if there was a code problem — and if it changes the outcome.”