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Error in election results reveal losing candidate actually won in Rochester Hills

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Posted at 4:53 AM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 07:16:58-05

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — An Oakland County Commissioner in Rochester Hills is celebrating his re-election Friday morning – after first thinking he’d lost!

Oakland County Commissioner Adam Kochenderfer is happy he’ll be back on the job in District 15 for another two years, but he says we wants to make sure this type of error doesn’t happen again.

7 Action News has learned a local clerk sent ballots from several precincts over to the county — twice.

“I went through an entire day thinking that I had lost," said Kochenderfer.

But by Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Adam Kochenderfer, a Republican, learned that in fact, he’d beat his opponent, Democrat Dr. Melanie Hartman.

He announced his successful re-election and the mishap on Facebook saying “Well… this is awkward…”

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“I received a call from the Oakland County Elections Division telling me that there had been a technical glitch," said Kochenderfer.

That glitch, according to the Oakland County Clerk’s Office occurred when a local clerk sent ballots for seven precincts in Rochester Hills twice – one set was labeled as precinct ballots, another as absentee. But they were the same batch of absentee ballots – the difference, tipping the scales to Kochenderfer.

“I swung from about a 100 vote loss to about an 1100 vote win," said Kochenderfer.

In a statement, Oakland County Clerk Lisa 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.”

Kochenderfer is relieved the issue was caught and corrected, but says he wants the system looked at — at both the county and the city level— so that this doesn’t happen again.

“We don’t want either the winners or the losers to go through this process and frankly it’s a non-partisan issue," he said.

7 Action News is keeping an eye out for a response from Kochenderfer’s opponent, who had thought she’d won and found out Thursday she’s in fact lost.

Kochenderfer says this error is still under investigation.