Dakota County's election results delay caused by incorrect ballots
Dakota County voters eager to see the results for local election races were disappointed last night. Results reporting was delayed until shortly after 2 a.m., six hours after the polls closed.
Today, Dakota County issued an explanation. According to a press release, a limited number of incorrect precinct ballots being inadvertently provided by county staff to early voters, meant that election officials had to physically rerun ballots for all Dakota County precincts, causing a delay in reporting results on election night.
Dakota County operated three early voting locations. Incorrect ballots were inadvertently provided to voters at locations in Apple Valley and West St. Paul, which led to 16 incorrect votes being cast out of an estimated 25,000 early votes. There were eight incorrect votes cast each at the Dakota County Western Service Center and Northern Service Center.
Due to the excess ballots and to be in accordance with state law, Dakota County had to rerun all 140 precincts. It took several hours to balance, draw and physically rerun the precincts. Dakota County was unable to report results from any precincts until the issues were resolved. Dakota County began submitting results at 2:08 a.m.and all results were posted by 4:21 a.m. The delay was to ensure that the election results were accurate.
“Dakota County will continue to evaluate and improve our voting and communications procedures to ensure election results are timely and accurate,” said Tom Novak, director of the Dakota County public services and revenue administration department. “We apologize for creating any frustrations with the delay in reporting results. Our election department worked tirelessly to ensure results were accurate and to abide by state law.”
Dakota County had an estimated 228,000 residents vote. Of those voters, an estimated 67,000 participated in early voting and voted via absentee ballots.
The following precincts (P) and wards (W) were impacted:
South St Paul P-1
West St Paul W-2 P-1
West St Paul W-2 P-2
West St Paul W-3 P-1
West St Paul W-3 P-2
Apple Valley P-7
Apple Valley P-8
Apple Valley P-10
Apple Valley P-14
Apple Valley P-15