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Five set for board election, 1 question remains

A handful of candidates and current school board members gathered around a table in the district office Tuesday night to see whose school board campaigns will continue and who will have to bow out early. But difficulties reporting results from one precinct and an apparent tie between two candidates meant there was still plenty of uncertainty when everyone went home shortly before 10 p.m.

The city of Farmington had trouble submitting the results from Precinct 1, which casts its ballots at the Rambling River Center, to county officials Tuesday night. When the numbers finally came through there were five candidates with a fairly comfortable margin and three more left wondering who would take the final spot.

Tim Burke was the big winner Tuesday, coming out with 863 votes. Julie Singewald was second with 842, current board chair Julie McKnight third with 515 and Veronica Walter fourth with 494. Kimberlee Simones finished fifth with 437 votes.

Beyond that, though, things get a little confusing. Candidates Carol Kappes and Bruce Westover each finished with 360 votes. Jim Peroutky was nine votes behind with 351.

Only six candidates will advance from Tuesday's primary, which was made necessary because there were more than twice as many candidates as available seats.

Dist-rict 192 superintendent Brad Meeks said Tuesday night he wasn't sure how the district would break a tie, if one remains when the results are made official.

Dakota County election officials reached Wednesday morning said it will ultimately be up to the district's attorney to decide how to proceed. If the board determines when they officially accept the results Wednes-day night that there was a tie county officials recommended breaking the deadlock by lot. Either of the affected candidates can request a recount, but there is no automatic recount.

At least one Lakeville resident reported problems at the polls. Scott Hewitt, who lives in Lakeville's 13th precinct, was given a ballot without the school board candidates. He said election judges at Valley Christian Church told him the board candidates were not on the ballot so he submitted his vote without choosing a board candidate.

Hewitt said Wednesday he hadn't planned to vote for either Kappes or West-over.

Lake-ville clerk Char Friedges said the mistake was the result of a misunderstanding by election judges in the precinct, which is split among three school districts.

"The judges just misunderstood," Friedges said. "They thought they didn't have multiple ballot styles until the general election."

Frie-dges said she talked with election judges as soon as she talked to Hewitt at 8:48 a.m. She said judges estimated no more than nine people had voted at that point.

"I'm very confident we did catch it soon enough," Friedges said.

That didn't satisfy Hewitt.

"Just the cluelessness of these election officials is a little discouraging," he said.

County commissioner

In the only other race with a direct local connection District 1 county commissioner Joe Harris appears certain to advance to the general election. With 34 of 35 precincts reporting late Tuesday night he had 2,823 votes. His likely challenger in the November election is Doug Riles, who had 522 votes at 10 p.m. Tuesday. Farmington resident Craig Altendorfer was third with 428 votes and Dean Birnstengel was fourth with 228.