GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A paperwork error has led to recounts for two schoolboard races in Kent County.
Names were mistakenly flipped on a certification document for a Grand Rapids Public Schools seat and on a separate document for a Kelloggsville Public Schools seat, according to Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons.
She said an employee with her office noticed the mistake after the board of canvassers certified the results.
Posthumus Lyons was notified Monday, which was the last day of a six-day window where a candidate could request a recount. She showed News 8 the documents that contained the errors.
“We have one of these documents for each of the 142 contests here in Kent County, which include nearly 400 candidates,” Posthumus Lyons said.
The names from the results were manually transferred to the certification document. Posthumus Lyons said the vote totals matched but the names were flipped.
This meant Jennifer McFarlane was listed as the winner in the GRPS race instead of Sara Melton and Daniel Jack Botting was put as the winner of the Kelloggsville seat instead of Brittney Rocha, who had won.
The candidates who had won the races, according to the certified vote results, requested a recount. If the error was found a day later, a court would have had to fix the mistake.
“Doing a recount, especially for an entire jurisdiction, is a large undertaking but it is worth the effort to make sure that we’re instilling public confidence, that we’re making sure everything in our elections is done accurately, transparently, and securely,” Posthumus Lyons said.
The county clerk said the winning candidates will ultimately not be billed for the recount, but she does not yet know what it will cost the county from its budget. She expects the recount to take about two weeks and wants it completed by the end of the year.
“The recount, particularly for Grand Rapids Public Schools, there are 74 precincts, plus 74 absentee counting boards, so we’re talking about 148 precincts that are going to be part of this recount,” Posthumus Lyons said.
Sara Melton, the winner of the GRPS seat, said she is confident the error will be resolved.
“It was a clerical error. I’m really confident that it will be fixed soon,” Melton said. “I’m relieved to know the results are expected to be the same.”
Posthumus Lyons said the start of the recount has not been scheduled at this time.