HASTINGS, Minn. (KMSP) - Very late into Election Night, Dakota County was still sitting a zero precincts reporting. Wednesday morning, the county explained why.
“Due to a limited number of incorrect precinct ballots being inadvertently provided by county staff to early voters, election officials had to physically rerun ballots for all Dakota County precincts, causing a delay in reporting results on election night,” the county explained. “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.”
Under state law, Dakota County had to re-run the ballots in all 140 precincts. It took several hours to balance, draw and physically re-run the precincts, and Dakota County was unable to report any 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.
“Dakota County will continue to evaluate and improve our voting and communications procedures to ensure election results are timely and accurate,” said a statement from 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.
The following Dakota County precincts (P) and wards (W) were impacted:
Northern Service Center
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
Western Service Center
Apple Valley P-7
Apple Valley P-8
Apple Valley P-10
Apple Valley P-14
Apple Valley P-15