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Rockford School Board Race Decided By A Card Draw May Not Be Over

Susan Stephens

The Rockford School Board race decided by the flip of playing cards two weeks ago may still be in play.

A discovery recount at the Winnebago County Clerk’s office Thursday morning, according to the Rockford Register Star, indicated possible vote total discrepancies in the write-in race in Rockford School Board Subdistrict A.

Eight write-in candidates ran for the seat in the April 5 election. Initially, Brandi Brown was told she was the winner and even started orientation with school district officials.

Then she and Anthony Dixon were informed that, after all mail-in ballots were counted, they each received 167 votes. Under state law, the winner of a tie vote would be determined by lottery.

Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins chose to break the tie by having the two pick a playing card from a deck, with the highest card winning the seat. Dixon won, and he was sworn in at this week’s school board meeting.

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ
Anthony Dixon and Brandi Brown, right after the card draw determined the winner of the tied school board race, April 25.

Brown’s supporters encouraged her to pursue a recount. The discovery recount Thursday, which sampled votes in one precinct plus mail-in ballots and electronic early votes, recount showed Dixon did not receive the number of mail-in votes Mullins said he had on the day of the deciding card draw.

Mullins says she stands by her totals, but Brown is going to pursue a full recount, which will require her to file a challenge in Winnebago County Court.

Meanwhile, Dixon will continue to serve in the Subdistrict A seat, unless the school board is told by the county clerk’s office that Brown is the winner. 

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.
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