Human error caused reporting glitch, not vote counting problem, Hennepin County officials say

An election-night snafu in Hennepin County that — for a short time — gave the appearance that Mark Dayton had as many as 60,000 extra votes — was the result of human error and was quickly resolved, county officials said.

Here’s the explanation from the county:

A temporary transmission problem with Hennepin County election results last night was due to human error, was quickly corrected, and unofficial results on the Hennepin website are accurate, said Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith.

“Until approximately 10 p.m. election night, our wireless transmission technology for reporting election results was working perfectly,” said Smith. “We were updating to our website and the Secretary of State’s site without a problem. At approximately 10 p.m., we temporarily paused transmission of precinct results to verify absentee ballot counts that were also being uploaded at the same time. When we resumed transmitting precinct results, a staff person pushed the wrong button — ‘add to’ instead of ‘replace.’ As a result, for a short time, all previously reported data was reported again, resulting in an almost doubling of data results.

“We recognized the error immediately and the website data was corrected within 45 minutes,” said Smith. Staff tried to immediately correct data on the OSS site, but due to technical issues on that end, the OSS data was not corrected until shortly after 12:30 a.m.

“We want to clarify that this was not an error in counting results, but a temporary error in reporting results,” said Smith. “The error was correctly diagnosed and resolved. The unofficial results on our website are accurate.”

As required by state law, all counties must submit verified election results to the Secretary of State within seven days of the general election. Until that time, all results are unofficial. The Hennepin County Canvassing Board, which consists of Hennepin County commissioners Jeff Johnson and Randy Johnson, the mayor of Minneapolis, the county auditor and the Fourth Judicial District Court administrator, meets next Monday, Nov. 8, to verify results.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/03/2010 - 01:39 pm.

    I understand it was the Republican party that caught the error. Why is it that Hennepin County seems incapable of handling a clean, error free election?

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/04/2010 - 05:06 pm.

    I understand that it had something to do with a mysterious GOP operative trying to hack Hennepin County’s firewall. Your turn Tom…..

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