Fixed ‘technical glitch’ earns Kochenderfer County Commission seat

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 6, 2020

 In Oakland County, incumbent Republican Adam Kochenderfer retained his spot on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in District 15 for a two-year term, after initially thinking he’d lost. 

In Oakland County, incumbent Republican Adam Kochenderfer retained his spot on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in District 15 for a two-year term, after initially thinking he’d lost. 

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In Oakland County, incumbent Republican Adam Kochenderfer retained his spot on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in District 15 for a two-year term, after initially thinking he’d lost. 

Kochenderfer won the race with a total of 16,893 votes, defeating Democrat Melanie Hartman, who received 15,766 votes, according to unofficial results in the Oakland County Election Division. 

Initially, unofficial results from the Oakland County Elections Division showed Hartman had defeated Kochenderfer, which officials have reported was due to a technical glitch in Rochester Hills.

In a statement sent Nov. 5, Rochester Hills Clerk Tina Barton said: “There was a technical glitch when a file was saved and sent to the county. We discovered this around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. We notified the county immediately and asked that the website be corrected. All votes were counted fairly and accurately and are reflected in the current vote total.”

Kochenderfer said he received a call from the Oakland County Elections Division Nov. 6 notifying him that there was a technical glitch in several precincts in Rochester Hills. Instead of losing by 104 votes, he learned he had won by 1,127.

In a statement, Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown said “the error occurred when a local clerk sent ballot totals for seven precincts in Rochester Hills to the county twice.” She said the first set of results was labeled as precinct ballots, and the second set was labeled as absentee ballots. However, they were the same batch of ballots which were, in fact, absentee ballots.

“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,” Brown said in a statement.

The discovery affects the unofficial result for County Commission District 15. Candidates have been notified of the error.

Kochenderfer said he was “a bit speechless” to learn of the error. 

“While I’m grateful for the outcome, we must 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,” he said in a statement.

Kochenderfer said he’s also cognizant of the fact that his opponent has experienced “the mirror image of his 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,” Kochenderfer said in a statement.

Hartman could not be reached for comment at press time.

Oakland County’s District 15 encompasses the city of Rochester and a portion of the city of Rochester Hills.

Voters in the Rochester Post’s coverage area also made their party picks for congress and state rep Nov. 3.

Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin has won her second term representing Michigan’s 8th Congressional District in the House. The Associated Press called the race the afternoon of Nov. 4. The AP’s tally in the 8th Congressional District race showed Slotkin earned 217,928 votes to beat Republican Paul Junge and Libertarian Joe Hartman, who earned 202,517 and 7,896 votes, respectively. The 8th District represents Ingham County, Livingston County and portions of Oakland County. 

Voters in the 45th and 46th districts in the Michigan House of Representatives selected Republican party members, in Mark Tisdel and incumbent John Reilly, respectively. Tisdel, from Rochester Hills, defeated Democrat Barb Anness to win a two-year term for District 45 and will replace the term-limited GOP state Rep. Michael Webber, a Republican. Tisdel earned 29,227 votes, outpacing Anness, who received 26,604 votes. The 45th District encompasses Rochester and Rochester Hills and part of Oakland Township.

State Rep. John Reilly, a Republican, will continue to represent the 46th District in the Michigan House of Representatives. Voters cast approximately 36,258 ballots in favor of Reilly, to defeat Democrat Jody LaMacchia, who took in 22,216 votes. The 46th District includes Addison, Brandon, Orion and Oxford townships, and part of Oakland Township.

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.

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