Errors fixed in Minnesota House 6A election results; Sandstede 50 votes ahead of Farnsworth

A clerical error in Toivola and votes being double-counted in a Hibbing precinct are to blame, county auditor said.

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Rob Farnsworth and Julie Sandstede

Incumbent State Rep. Julie Sandstede, DFL-Hibbing, now leads GOP challenger Rob Farnsworth, of Hibbing, by 50 votes in the Minnesota House District 6A race after election officials corrected two vote-tallying errors.

In a news release late Thursday night, the St. Louis County Auditor's Office said it found the errors at two of the county's precincts.

"A clerical error resulted in the votes cast on election day in Toivola being recorded incorrectly," the county said. "Additionally, an issue with the process of uploading the results from one polling location in Hibbing led to duplicate counts."

That led to errors in the unofficial results reported to the Minnesota Secretary of State website. The county will continue to review results ahead of the canvassing board's certification of election results on Nov. 13, the county said.

Since early Wednesday, Farnsworth had been leading incumbent Sandstede, DFL-Hibbing, by just 47 votes โ€” 10,923 to 10,876 votes. But on Thursday, the number of total votes fell for both candidates and showed Sandstede ahead.


After several changes to the vote totals, Sandstede ended with 10,764 votes and Farnsworth with 10,714 votes, which are the "corrected and updated" results, the county said.

The difference remains within the .5% margin that, if requested, would trigger a publicly funded recount.

"Anytime there is an error it is unfortunate," St. Louis County Auditor Nancy Nilsen said in the release. "But this is exactly why we have an audit system in place, to ensure the accuracy of results and integrity of the system, and why we say vote totals are not official until certified."

Earlier in the evening, the Minnesota Secretary of State's office said it was working to fix errors in the unofficial results for the race.

"We're aware of the issue and our Elections Director is currently in contact with the county," Risikat Adesaogun, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, told the News Tribune on Thursday evening.

This story was updated at 11:43 p.m. Nov. 5 after St. Louis County said it corrected the errors. It was originally posted at 8:19 p.m. Nov. 5.

Jimmy Lovrien covers energy, mining and the 8th Congressional District for the Duluth News Tribune. He can be reached at or 218-723-5332.
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